By Teresa Gomez, Communications and Marketing

08 May 2019 - 11:12

Our final touch in April was the magnificent Villa-Lobos Violoncello Octeto Concert which took place on Thursday, the 25th of April at The British Council School Theatre. There were over 150 people in the audience for what was a great performance from the Octeto, together with Paloma Friedhoff, the world famous international soprano. It was certainly a great opportunity for our students and their families to enjoy such renown artists from the Spanish musical world, listening to an extraordinary concert.

The ensemble was made up of eight violoncellos, half of which were from the Royal Theatre, led by Paul Friedhoff, the famous North American cellist. This is his second time with us and he delighted our students with his masterclass. These were joined by four other, younger cellists, examples of the new generation of brilliant musicians in Madrid and which included our very own, much loved cello teacher, Lucía García Fernández. As well as being part of the Dolcello duo and the Verum symphony orchestra, Lucía also frequently plays with the Royal Theatre. Our thanks to her for organising this wonderful event, giving us the great pleasure of being able to enjoy such exceptional music quality.

With the concert, the Violoncello Octeto wanted to pay tribute to the Brasilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, hence their name. There were renditions of Bachianas Brasileiras Nº1 and Nº5, two seminal pieces for this ensemble, where they blended their own native Brasilian folk music with the more traditional forms and techniques associated with these pieces.

In the programme, the cellist Alberto Hernández Frutos, explained it like this: “The first Bachiana, written for eight violoncellos is a wonderful example of the versatile tone and music of this group. You can certainly appreciate that Villa-Lobos was himself a cellist. The names of the different movements are duplicated: one representing a European tradition (introduction, prelude, fugue), the other a Brasilian tradition (embolada, modinha, conversa)”.

The most famous work for violoncello orchestra was the one chosen to close the concert, Bachiana Nº 5, which was composed between 1938 and 1945.  Hernández Frutos explained how “a soprano voice will rise above the rich texture of violoncellos to sing to the Moon and to Nature in two different movements called Aria-Cantinela and Martelo-Dance. It is worth noticing the tremendously fine, final section of the first movement, where the soprano sings with her mouth closed”.

As well as these masterpieces by Heitor Villa-Lobos, there were other works by composers such as Grützmacher and Vivaldi, amongst others. An unforgettable Concert which moved everyone in the audience.


  • Cellos: Paul Friedhoff, John Bradley Magee, Lucía García Fernández, Leticia Hernández Enriquez, Hamid Kazerani, Alberto Hernández de Frutos, Amparo Mas Torre, Nuria Rosa Muntañola
  • Soprano: Paloma Friedhoff
  • Hymn of Consecration Op. 65
    Friedrich Grützmacher (1823-1903)
  • Concerto Grosso Op. 3, Nº 11 
    Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
    - Allegro
    - Adagio-AllegrO
    - Largo
    - Allegro
  • Bachianas Brasileiras Nº 1
    Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
    - Animato
    - Preludio (Modinha)
    - Fugue (Conversa)
  • Adagio
    Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750)
  • Bachianas Brasileiras Nº 5
    Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
    - Aria (Cantinela)
    - Dansa (Martelo)
  • Soloist: Paloma Friedhoff