I later learned all five of the preludes and performed them as a group many times in concert, but this is the only one I have a recording of. After I began studying with Teo Bagchus in Vancouver, the first teacher I had who really knew the repertoire, I started to learn the Etude No. 8. I was still working on it when I traveled to Alicante, Spain to study with Teo's teacher, José Tomás. In fact, when I first knocked on his door and he asked me what I was working on, I'm pretty sure that it was mention of the Villa-Lobos Etude No. 8 that got me in the door. Later on I worked on the Etude No. 1, which is one of the trickiest arpeggio studies. Audiences like it because it sounds pretty, but guitarists can spend a few years mastering the complex arpeggio pattern. Here is my recording of it:
There are twelve etudes for guitar in all by Villa-Lobos but a lot of guitarists never get past the first one, which is actually one of the easiest. A particularly challenging one is the Etude No. 7 with its quick scales and melody that goes far up the neck. Here is my recording of that one:
So that gives you a pretty good sample of the solo guitar music by Villa-Lobos. I was bragging to a commentator that I have played almost all the music for guitar by Villa-Lobos in concert and that is almost true. I have played all of the preludes and most of the etudes (seven or eight of them, at least), the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra as well as the Sexteto místico, a chamber work for the fascinating ensemble of flute, oboe, alto saxophone, guitar, celesta and harp. The only piece ever written for that ensemble, I am sure. That performance was for a chamber music series in Vancouver, recorded for broadcast by the CBC, in which I also played El Decameron negro by Leo Brouwer for solo guitar. Alas, I don't have a copy of that recording, so let's listen to this performance. The players are Bent Larsen (Flute), Sverre Larsen (Celesta), Björne Carl Nielsen (Oboe), Christian Hougaard (Saxophone), Jan Sommer (Guitar), Tine Rehling (Harp):
I haven't played the Suite popular brasileño, nor the Chôro No. 1, nor a couple of the etudes, but everything else...
Apart from the performance of the Concerto at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, I think the performance I am most proud of was in Montreal when I devoted the whole first half to Villa-Lobos. I played the Etude 1, Prelude 1, Etude 2, Prelude 2, Etude 5, Prelude 3, Etude 7, Prelude 4, Etude 8, Prelude 5 and ended with the Etude 10, a real tour-de-force of slurs! I really wish I had a tape of that concert.