Luis de FREITAS BRANCO (1890 - 1955)
Sonata No.1 para violino e piano (1907)
Sonata No.2 para violino e piano (1928)
Tibor Varga, violin - Roberto
Recorded : Philharmonia Studio, Switzerland, January 1986
STRAUSS SP 4045 [49:54]
Luis de Freitas Branco, the forefather of 20th Century Portuguese music,
played an important part in what might be referred to as the Portuguese Musical
Renaissance by emancipating Portuguese music from its classical, late Romantic
The Sonata No. l para violino e piano was written in 1907 by a seventeen
year old budding composer and was first performed in Lisbon in 1908. This
youthful, exuberant work quite understandably relies heavily on some obvious
models, such as Franck's Violin Sonata composed for Eugene Ysaye and is also
at times redolent of Fauré. Franck's influence is quite clear in the
cyclic structure of much of the music, though Freitas Branco's sunny lyricism
is quite different from the older composer's passionate Romanticism. The
First Violin Sonata is an ambitious piece of some substance and a very
accomplished work in its own right. It is fluently written (Freitas Branco
had played the violin in his early years) and abounds with wonderful tunes,
whereas the cyclic organisation modelled on Franck enhances the structural
coherence of the work. Quite an impressive piece of music.
The Sonata No. 2 para violino e piano was completed in 1928 and is
thus a mature work. At that time Freitas Branco's music had moved towards
a sort of Neo-Classicism which was to become one of the hallmarks of his
maturity. The Second Violin Sonata is more classically structured than its
predecessor. It may also be less spontaneous, though still brilliantly written.
The thematic material is clear-cut, nicely shaped and, as a result, the Second
Violin Sonata is beautifully proportioned. A fine work indeed, even if its
lacks the freshness and spontaneity of its predecessor.
Both pieces are welcome additions to the catalogue and violinists who love
Franck's sonata or those of his disciples (e.g. Lekeu or Magnard), should
investigate these beautiful, little-known works by a major Portuguese composer.
Tibor Varga and Roberto Szidon play with evident relish and seem to enjoy
the warm lyricism of the music enormously. These 1986 recordings, made in
Switzerland, still sound very well.
Well worth investigating if you manage to find this.
The prices remain the same but not the transport costs:
For UK --- £6 per CD
Freight --- till 3 CDs --- not registered --- £2.40; registered----
For USA --$ 10 per CD
Freight --till 3 CDs -- not registered ---$5; registered ---- $6.80
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