The Ciranda is a traditional Brazilian children’s dance. In the ultimate expression of community, participants (including adults) join hands and engage in a round dance of moderate tempo.
The Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), was serving his country as minister for national music education when, in 1933, he wrote Ciranda das sete notas (“Round Dance for Seven Notes”). A single movement concerto for bassoon and string orchestra, the piece explores the sunny “seven notes” of the C major scale.
The piece opens with an exuberant C major scale in the strings which surges in contrary motion. It’s a suave, jazzy gesture which stylishly “raises the curtain” to introduce the star character, the bassoon. Following a series of pastoral adventures, the Concerto’s warm final section rises over an ascending ostinato. The bassoon’s final statement of the scale drifts off into jazzy, pan diatonic bliss, to be resolved by a single “C”in the strings.
This recording features the Uruguayan bassoonist Gustavo Núñez with Ed Spanjaard and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra:
- Villa-Lobos: Ciranda das sete notas, W. 325, Gustavo Núñez, Ed Spanjaard, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amazon
Featured Image: “Rock formations and the Dedo de Deus (God’s Finger) peak in the background, at the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil,” photograph by Carlos Perez Couto