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Freitas Branco: Violin Sonatas No 1 & 2 / Carlos Damas

Branco / Damas / Tomasik
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572334   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Luís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Carlos DamasAnna Tomasik
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Exultant lyricism from a justifiably confident Portuguese late-romantic.

These two sonatas (and the Prélude) track Freitas Branco’s development very accurately. The First Sonata has an adventurous form: a gentle opening followed by a brief scherzo, an even shorter adagio, and then a long, fully developed finale. The model clearly is Franck, the harmony richly chromatic. The Second Sonata is in every way a finer work. Clear forms, a better balance between movements, and quasi-modal harmony foreshadow the music of younger colleague Joly Braga Santos. Violinist Carlos Damas seems more at home in the Second Sonata than in the romantic effusions of the first, where he tends to swoon around the notes and double-strike
Read more with the bow in pianissimo. Control of the bow at low dynamic levels seems to be a common problem with violinists today, but otherwise his performances are aptly gutsy and passionate, and Anna Tomasik accompanies with equal verve. An enjoyable release, very well engineered too.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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The Portuguese composer Luis de Freitas Branco has been well and truly supported by Naxos (see below). Their four discs of the four symphonies with tone poems and dances have invaluably filled the gaps left by the lamented demise of the Portugalsom label. It's worth reminding ourselves of these Naxos CDs all made with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra under Alvaro Cassuto who has also done so much for the equally gifted symphonist Joly Braga Santos. These need to be read with the ATMA CD of the Freitas Branco Violin Concerto.

The First Sonata is in four movements with I and III flighting unconquerable Delian lyricism with a chaffing second movement that draws on entertaining salon miniatures. Ivan Moody's extremely useful liner-note relates the music to Chausson and Franck. The finale blends animated invention with the high-flown cantabile of the earlier movements. The 1938 Second Sonata is also in four movements which are peaceful, again of exalted lyrical content, a jerky highlands dance for a second movement, a calming Andantino and a triumphantly euphoric finale. One thinks often of Howells at his early zenith. The parallels are quite surprising in this work. The little Prelude is a pensive and then demonstrative piece akin to the First Sonata.

Damas plays with touchingly vulnerable sensitivity. Tomasik is in total sympathy with him. The balance between the two is pretty much equal.

If your favourites include the Delius violin concerto, violin sonatas and cello sonata make it your business to hear this. Exultant lyrical pages from a justifiably confident Portuguese late-romantic.

– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Carlos Damas (Violin), Anna Tomasik (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907 
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 by Luís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Carlos Damas (Violin), Anna Tomasik (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938 
3. Prelude for Violin and Piano by Luís de Freitas Branco
Performer:  Carlos Damas (Violin), Anna Tomasik (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonata No. 1: I. Andantino non troppo moderato
Violin Sonata No. 1: II. Allegretto giocoso
Violin Sonata No. 1: III. Adagio molto
Violin Sonata No. 1: IV. Allegro con fuoco
Violin Sonata No. 2: I. Allegretto
Violin Sonata No. 2: II. Molto vivace
Violin Sonata No. 2: III. Andantino
Violin Sonata No. 2: IV. Allegro
Prelude for Violin and Piano

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superb April 9, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "How should one describe the music of 20th century Portugese composer Luis de Freitas Branco? Colorful, melodious, energetic, dynamic, folksy, high quality, aesthetically satisfying- these are some of the labels which can easily apply to Freitas Branco's four symphonies, which Naxos has previously recorded and released- magnificent issues, to be sure. With the disk under review here, we have the composer's two violin sonatas, and it seems that the more things change (the genre in this case), the more they stay the same (my opinion of this recording). Violinist Carlos Damas, ably supported by pianist Anna Tomasik, soars with his instrument, demonstrating passion and elegance as he interprets Freitas Branco's sonatas (written in 1907 and 1938, respectively. This is wonderful music- sophisticated in its melodious content, yet warmly lyrical and an absolute pleasure to experience. What we have here is a valuable addition to Naxos's excellent series of recordings of Portugese classical music. Anyone interested in some really great, yet unfamiliar, music should give this Naxos disk a try. If you do, it is highly unlikely that you will be disappointed and be anything less than thoroughly impressed. Strong recommendation!" Report Abuse
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