It takes a little bit of listening dedication to understand the music of Villa-Lobos. After the first listen i find myself feeling moved, although I'm not sure why. It's because the music is so complicated -- not only in form but in the sources from which Villa-Lobos drew.
"Bachianas Brasileiras" are commemorating Bach, who Villa-Lobos loved, but they're still unmistakably Brazilian, and 20th century music. #3 on this album is basically a piano concerto. at times it reminds me of Ravel or Manuel de Falla because of the unorthodox harmonies and sudden and striking changes, but every now and then I'm surprised with something simple and beautiful. Also a part of every work on the cd is something of the traditional music of Brazil-in itself a great change of pace for those of us unfamiliar with it.
The saxophone fantasia and especially the guitar concerto are technically amazing. Villa-Lobos had a way of writing for various instruments and forms without varying in quality -- and as is the case here, my understanding of what instruments are capable of doing gets stretched a little.
The piano music has a dreamy effect and defies, like most of the other music, any kind of predictability. Its like being blindfolded and strapped to a rollercoaster seat. When its all done, you'll feel like you just woke up from some other-worldly dream. As the quote from Grammophone says on the back of the case that "atmosphere...in this kind of music nothing is more important."
It might take a few listens to understand anything about the music, especially if you're unfamiliar with the composer, but its a good introduction to his originality, unpredictability, and especially his atmospheric power.