The Bachianas Brasileiras (Portuguese pronunciation: [bakiˈɐ̃nɐz bɾaziˈlejɾɐs]) constitute a series of nine suites by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, written for various combinations of instruments and voices between 1930 and 1945. They represent not so much a fusion between Brazilian folk and popular music on the one hand, and the style of Johann Sebastian Bach on the other, as an attempt freely to adapt a number of Baroque harmonic and contrapuntal procedures to Brazilian music (Béhague 1994, 106; Béhague 2001). Most of the movements in each suite have two titles: one "Bachian" (Preludio, Fuga, etc.), the other Brazilian (Embolada, O canto da nossa terra, etc.).
Villa-Lobos made a number of recordings of the Bachianas Brasileiras, including an integral recording of all nine compositions made in Paris in the 1950s with theFrench National Orchestra for EMI. These landmark recordings were issued in several configurations on LP, and later were reissued on CD. Other musicians, including Joan Baez, Enrique Bátiz, Leonard Bernstein, Nelson Freire, Werner Janssen, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Jesús López-Cobos, Aldo Parisot, Menahem Pressler, Mstislav Rostropovich, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Felix Slatkin, Leopold Stokowski, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Galina Vishnevskaya have subsequently recorded the music.
Because Villa-Lobos dashed off compositions in feverish haste and preferred writing new pieces to revising and correcting already completed ones, numerous slips of the pen, miscalculations, impracticalities or even impossibilities, imprecise notations, uncertainty in specification of instruments, and other problems inescapably remain in the printed scores of the Bachianas, and require performers to take unusual care to decipher what the composer actually intended. In the frequent cases where both the score and the parts are wrong, the recordings made by the composer are the only means of determining what the composer actually intended (Round 1989, 35).