Although internationally famous during his lifetime, Villa-Lobos had been put aside for many years, i.e., had been almost excluded of the musical canon until the recent sudden emergence of Dudamel reintroduced his work in the concert halls. This cycle of the Bachianas Brasileiras is a fortunate exception as it was enregistered in the Seventies.
It would be unjust to choose some pieces as the the most accurate or well played. Enrique Bátiz proved himself a resorceful conductor of Villa-Lobos and Barbara Hendricks did her best to achieve the natural music of the Portuguese language in her singing of the Bachianas 4 and 5.
The quality which renders these performances outstanding, in my opinion, is that they succeded in finding the correct balance between the regional and the universal elements in Villa-Lobos. For Villa-Lobos' creative activity was, first of all, a lifelong search for the authentic musical soul of Brazil, which is much more than most people, including the Brazilians themselves, will ever be presented with. But at the same time Villa-Lobos suffered from that "anxiety of influence" as he could not but participate in the western musical canon.
In a period of the history of the classical music characterized by discovery and innovation, Villa-Lobos found his way not by refusing (or pretending to refuse) the tradition, but by working out an original musical idea, which could reflect his temperament, his passion, the musical character of his country (as he saw it) and of his epoch, and the sense of transcendence which is the "conditio sine qua non" of the classical music, its "raison d'être".