Fernando LOPES-GRACA (1906
Concerto da Camera col Violoncello Obbligato Op.167 (1966)
Sinfonietta "Homenagem a Haydn" Op.220 (1980)
Maria José Falcão
(cello); Budapest Symphony Orchestra; György Lehel
Recorded : Hungaroton Studios, Budapest, June 1985
STRAUSS SP 4033
In spite of its diminutive title, Lopes-Graça’s
Concerto da Camera col Violoncello Obbligato Op.167 ,
written in 1966 for Mstislav Rostropovich who first performed it in
Moscow in 1967 and who recorded it some time later, is one of this composer’s
greatest masterpieces. Its comparative short length is packed with music
of the highest quality and, as I find is often the case with cello concertos,
it is also one of his most personal statements. It certainly is one
of the peaks of Lopes-Graça’s mature years, as is that other
unquestionable masterpiece of his, Canto de Amor e de Morte.
It has the same economy of means resulting in deeply moving effects.
Its freely chromatic idiom is pregnant with tension and passion which
the composer controls with consummate mastery. Again I am in no doubt
that this beautiful, deeply moving and gripping piece is one of Lopes-Graça’s
masterpieces and one of the finest cello concertos composed in the second
half of the 20th Century. Maria José Falcão
is an eloquent soloist and has the full measure of the music superbly
supported by Lehel and his orchestra.
By contrast the Sinfonietta Op.220 completed
in 1980 and subtitled Homage to Haydn seems almost lightweight
although it clearly avoids any attempt at facile Neo-classicism. There
is just one brief Haydn quotation in the third movement (in fact from
Haydn’s Military Symphony), whereas the remaining music is pure
Lopes-Graça in its sincerity and unaffected simplicity, a trait
he obviously shares with Haydn.
In this as in the Cello Concerto György Lehel and
his orchestra play this unfamiliar music with evident relish and commitment,
particularly so in the masterly Cello Concerto.
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