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Luis De Freitas-Branco: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4

Branco / Rte / Cassuto
Release Date: 12/14/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572624   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Luís de Freitas Branco's symphonies, with their somewhat Franckian cyclical forms (and sometimes melodies), are more conservative than his impressionist, cutting-edge orchestral works from the turn of the 20th century. Vathek is one such, an amazing, luscious, exotic tone poem in the form of a theme and variations. Unperformed until 1950, just five years before the death of its composer, it is a masterpiece, and one of the most remarkable works of its era (there's a variation written with something like 59 string parts, almost an anticipation of Messiaen or Ligeti).

In the Fourth Symphony (1944-52) Branco recaptures his youthful fire. The work mixes the modal melodies of Gregorian chant with tangy dissonances and
Read more supple, Latin rhythms. The result recalls the Hindemith of, say, Nobilissima Visione, though the scoring is quite different and the handling of form more traditional (save in the multi-sectional finale). Certainly this is the finest of the composer's four symphonies, and a wonderful work by any measure.

As with previous issues in this series, the performances are splendidly confident. Álvaro Cassuto always is an effective exponent of his countryman's work, but the engineering is a touch dry, and the timpani in the symphony lacks presence. Still, the importance of the repertoire overrides any secondary considerations. Do try to hear this excellent and distinctive music.

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

1.
Symphony no 4 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1952 
2.
Vathek by Luís de Freitas Branco
Conductor:  Alvaro Cassuto
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RTE National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 4: I. Andante
Symphony No. 4: II. Adagio
Symphony No. 4: III. Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 4: IV. Allegro
Vathek: I. Introduction
Vathek: II. Theme
Vathek: III. Prologue
Vathek: IV. Variation I: Festin Eternal
Vathek: V. Variation II: Temple de la Melodie
Vathek: VI. Variation III: Delices des Yeux
Vathek: VII. Variation IV: Palais des Parfums
Vathek: VIII. Variation V: Reduit de la Joie
Vathek: IX. Epilogue

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