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Fernandes, Freitas Branco / Da Costa, Amigo, Et Al

Release Date: 01/29/2008 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2578   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Armando José FernandesLuís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Alexandre Da Costa
Conductor:  Jesus Amigo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Extremadura
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Luís de Freitas Branco's Second Symphony (1926) is an elegant, melodically appealing work in which we can clearly hear the influence of Franck yielding to a more modal melodic style contemporaneous to that of Vaughan Williams and Respighi. You can hear the latter in the work's Gregorian chant-like motto theme, and the former in the first movement's second subject and the entire slow movement, whose shape obviously recalls that in Franck's Symphony in D minor. Nevertheless, Freitas Branco finds room for a full-length scherzo, and while his scoring tends to favor the violins and nowhere approaches the adventurousness of his tone poem Vahtek, this is by any standard a very pleasant 42 minutes of listening.

The performance
Read more is a very good one, and so are the sonics. There is competition--a Hungarian recording released on Portugal's own Strauss label--but it's highly doubtful that you will ever be able to find it, and in any event this newcomer is better played and better recorded. I could imagine a touch more rhythmic edge in the outer movements, but this is predominantly gentle music anyway, and given the work's unfamiliarity, conductor Jesús Amigo makes a very positive impression.

And speaking of unfamiliarity, Armando Fernandes' Violin Concerto (1948) is completely unknown, at least outside of Portugal, but it's not as fine a work as the Symphony. Although not entirely conventional (it has four movements instead of the usual three), and lacking a memorable melodic profile, Alexandre da Costa plays it with conviction, albeit with a somewhat square rhythmic treatment. Still, for the symphony alone this certainly is a recommendable release.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin by Armando José Fernandes
Performer:  Alexandre Da Costa (Violin)
Conductor:  Jesus Amigo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Extremadura
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Portugal 
Length: 31 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Portugal (1947 - 1948). 
Symphony no 2 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Alexandre Da Costa (Violin)
Conductor:  Jesus Amigo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Extremadura
Written: 1926 
Length: 42 Minutes 29 Secs. 

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