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Branco: Symphony No 1, Scherzo Fantastique, Etc / Cassuto


Release Date: 07/29/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570765   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This first volume in a projected series of Freitas Branco orchestral works nicely outlines his three principal styles. First, in the symphony, there is the influence of Franck and his school. This is so pronounced, particularly in the finale, that the result risks caricature. There is no need to describe the music in any further detail: if you love Franck's Symphony in D minor, then you'll also enjoy this work. It's a very, very good copy, closer to its model in sound and structure than many of the works of Franck's immediate contemporaries (Chausson, for example, or Dukas). If you forget the fact that the symphony was composed in 1924, you certainly would think you are hearing a French piece from the 1890s.

The Scherzo
Read more fantasque also betrays a French influence, this time of the impressionists, or perhaps Dukas, in its piquant use of a smallish orchestra with plenty of colorful percussion. Suite Alentejana No. 1 reveals Freitas Branco as an ethnic nationalist, recalling Falla, particularly in the ebullient concluding Fandango. It's a lovely work--but then all of this music is certainly worth getting to know, especially when the performances are this sympathetic and well recorded. Álvaro Cassuto is of course familiar to collectors from his series of orchestral works by Joly Braga Santos (one that I hope is ongoing--there's still come good stuff there). He's not only an authority on the Portuguese school, but he projects his knowledge of the composers and their various idioms with unfailing enthusiasm and stylishness, making this latest release an easy recommendation.

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

1.
Symphony no 1 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 33 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2.
Scherzo fantastique by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3.
Suite Alentejana no 1 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 21 Minutes 5 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1: I. Adagio - Allegro molto
Symphony No. 1: II. Andante
Symphony No. 1: III. Allegro molto vivace
Scherzo fantastique
Suite alentejana No.1: I. Prelude: Allegretto
Suite alentejana No.1: II. Intermezzo: Adagio - Andantino
Suite alentejana No.1: III. Finale: Allegro

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