Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Eighth Inter-American Music Festival continued Tuesday night at the Kennedy Center with a program celebrating the 90th anniversary of the birth of the great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Mario Tavares, noted Brazilian conductor, led the festival orchestra in his personal debut in the continental United States. The program began with the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 for Cello Orchestra, one of the composer's most engaging compositions.
This was followed by the Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra (1945) featuring as soloist Antonio Jeronimo Menezes, winner of the Casals prize in last year's Villa-Lobos competition. It is a strangely evocative work reflecting in a way the troubled times of its creation.
Paula Seibel, charming young American soprano, was next heard in the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, an ingratiating work accompanied by cello orchestra. The evening closed with Genesis, a tone poem conceived originally as a ballet. The work seems a bit dated in its concern for tone color and primitive rhythms and in the romantic lushness of its harmony.
Villa-Lobos comes through as a very gifted composer, well-schooled in traditional techniques but able to introduce the rhythms and melodies of Brazilian folk music. The concentration of the program on music for the cello in spite of the fact that Villa-Lobos wrote profusely as well for many musical media reflects the fact that the cello was his favorite instrument. He supported himself as a cellist in his student years.
The concert was preceded by a brief ceremony honoring Guillermo Espinosa, originator of the Inter-American Music Festivals: Mrs. Villa-Lobos for her contributions to the current one; and renowned Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayao, long a star of the Metropolitan Opera, and the singer who introduced and first recorded the Bachiana Brasileiras No. 5.