Rossini may have made his name and fortune as a master of comedy but a closer look at his life and work reveals a character of no little depth and darkness.
Lived: 1887 – 1959 Mostly in: Rio de Janeiro and Paris Best Known For: Bachianas Brasileiras, Chôros, Guitar Concerto, Solo Guitar Works Similar To: Milhaud, Stravinsky “I am a child of nature”. This immodest statement was uttered by composer Heitor Villa-Lobos to an audience in Los Angeles during his first visit to the US in 1944. If it clearly surprised the novelist Érico Veríssimo, who was acting as Villa-Lobos’s translator from the Portuguese, it is, perhaps, a more accurate description of this remarkable musician than it might at first appear. Villa-Lobos Villa-Lobos is one of those rarities in music: a great composer who taught himself. As a child he was instructed in cello and clarinet by his father, a librarian by day but also a fine amateur musician. Villa-Lobos also mastered the guitar and was actively composing by his early teens. His father died suddenly when the boy was only 12 and finances became a problem for the large family. His mother was anxious that he follow a financially stable profession in medicine and enrolled him in a suitable academic course. Alienated, Villa-Lobos left home and school at 16 to follow his musical interests. He joined a chorão, one of the groups of musicians