Music: Precocious Momus

Most composers spend the early part of their lives in conservatories of music, where they learn to write potted fugues and hothouse symphonies. But no conservatory ever held Brazil's bouncing, fiery Heitor Villa-Lobos. When he was six years old his lawyer father, an amateur musician, taught him how to play a lick or two on the cello. He taught himself how to play the piano. By the time he was 19 he was roving from one Brazilian settlement to another, playing in half-caste cabarets and straw-thatched cinema palaces. And he listened long and often...

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