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Branco: Symphony No 3, The Death Of Manfred / Cassuto, NSO Of Ireland

Branco / Rte / Cassuto
Release Date: 05/25/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572370   Spars Code: DDD 
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 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The music is highly recommendable and at Naxos price a gift.

Branco's symphonies follow the pattern initiated by Franck and the French school, usually featuring cyclically recurring themes and a late-Romantic, Wagnerian harmonic idiom. However, the Third Symphony (1944) shows chromaticism gradually being replaced by something more interesting: a harder-edged sonority and a bolder use of diatonic dissonance. The result is quite individual and often very ear-catching. Indeed, if this 46-minute piece has any weakness, it's that it is so profligate of material, with each theme having its own shape, scoring, and tempo, that the various movements seem to flow into one another without strong contrasts. Still, such musical
Read more abundance hardly can be faulted when the results are so enjoyable.

The Death of Manfred is an early piece for strings, nine aptly elegiac minutes, while the Suite, as the title suggests, is a folk-inspired work written in an entirely different style from the symphony. Here the influences are more Russian (think Rimsky-Korsakov and his crew), the orchestration sparkling and enriched with percussion, and the melodies obviously ethnic in origin. As with all of the releases in this series so far, Álvaro Cassuto conducts as persuasively as we have any right to expect, and Naxos' sonics are excellent. A very attractive and welcome release. I do hope, though, that Naxos hasn't given up on Braga Santos (still some more good stuff there) and several other members of the next generation of Portuguese composers.

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

1. Symphony no 3 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
2. A Morte de Manfredo by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906 
3. Suite alentejana no 2 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 3: I. Adagio - Allegro
Symphony No. 3: II. Lento
Symphony No. 3: III. Allegro
Symphony No. 3: IV. Allegro vivace
A Morte de Manfredo (The Death of Manfred)
Suite alentejana No. 2: I. Preludio
Suite alentejana No. 2: II. Intermezzo
Suite alentejana No. 2: III. Final

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