by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1921-1926)
orchestration by Richard Rijnvos (2010-2011; revision: 2014)
18 minutes

Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his Rudepoêma between 1921 and 1926. It is considered to be his largest and most challenging work for solo piano.

Allegedly the piece has once been described by a critic as "Le Sacre du Printemps meets the Brazilian jungle". For the title of this work, as he also did for other compositions, such as Vidapura and Momoprecoce, Villa-Lobos telescoped two words together: rude, meaning 'rude', 'coarse', 'uncultured', 'discourteous', and poema, meaning 'poem'.

The inscription on Rubinstein's hand-written score reads:

"Mon sincère et grand ami, je ne sais pas si j'ai pu tout à fait assimilé ton âme avec ce Rudepoême, mais, je le jure de tout mon cœur que j'ai l'impression d'avoir gravé ton temperament, d'apres mon esprit et que machinalement j'ai ecri sur des pentagrama, comme un Kodak intime. Par consequent si c'est reussi, ce sera toujours toi le vrai auteur de cet 'œuvre. Ton Villa-Lobos".

photo: Cubist Piano (year unknown) by Brad Woodard



orchestration commissioned by

NTR ZaterdagMatinee (Netherlands)

première orchestration

1 October 2011 - NTR ZaterdagMatinee
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, James Gaffigan (conductor)

première revised orchestration

4-5-6 December 2014
Sala São Paulo, São Paulo (Brazil)
Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Wagner Polistchuk (conductor)



[...] Definitely more Brazilian was Rudepoêma, a savage piano piece composed by the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos. It was premiered last Saturday in a new orchestration by Richard Rijnvos. The almost twenty minute work is a musical portrait of pianist Arthur Rubinstein. A virtuoso and festive work, that in its scoring turned into a butch piece with luscious string sounds, sultry and heavy brass, and rock-hard banging percussion at the end. Because of the sheer volume and its modern sound spectrum, Rijnvos's arrangement sounds contemporary and eccentric. [...]

Lonneke Regter, De Volkskrant, 3 October 2011

[...] That very same space, lit in green, yellow, and blue, hosted the première of the orchestral arrangement by Richard Rijnvos of Villa-Lobos's Rudepoêma. The orchestration was commissioned by the [NTR Zaterdag]Matinee. Maracas, celesta, piano, hefty brass, and firm bass parts: Rijnvos didn't flinch from a colourful scoring and moments of satiation. [...]

Frederike Berntsen, Trouw, 5 October 2011

Audio Fragments


Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
James Gaffigan - conductor


1 Oct. 2011, NTR ZaterdagMatinee, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (NL)
by NTR Dutch Radio (reproduced with permission).


excerpt 1


excerpt 2


excerpt 3

Score Excerpts