About this work
This dance-driven saxophone concerto in miniature demonstrates how Villa-Lobos could integrate nearly any instrument into a Brazilian sound world while still composing a fully "classical" piece. Of the three short movements, the first, "Animé," is the longest, clocking in at about four minutes. An agitated, downward cascade for the strings ushers in the soloist, playing an angular, strongly rhythmic theme relying on quickly repeated notes. A second melody is much broader and more luxurious and spreads across half the movement before the opening rat-a-tat theme begins to insinuate itself very subtly into the proceedings again. Even then, the more lyrical melody remains in control to the movement's end. The second movement, "Lent," relies on a sexy, chromatic melody that lingers in the soprano saxophone's high register. After only the briefest pause, the finale, 'Très animé," arrives with an impulsive, sometimes jittery theme over a firm beat. The solo part wanders off into trills while the small orchestra stretches out in long, voluptuous chords. But soon, the dance rhythm returns stronger than ever, bouncing toward a conclusion in which the saxophone departs with an upward flourish, seeming to vanish from the movement without providing a harmonic resolution.