Luis de FREITAS BRANCO  (1890-1955)
Violin Sonata No. 1 (1907) [24:03]
Violin Sonata No. 2 (1938) [23:39]
Prelude for violin and piano (1910) [3:35]
Carlos Damas (violin)
Anna Tomasik (piano)
rec. Namouche Studios, Lisbon, Portugal, 15 December 2009, 25 January 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572334 [51:18]
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

Freitas Brancos symphonies on Naxos
8.570765 Symphony No. 1: Scherzo Fantastique; Suite Aletejana No. 1
8.572059 Symphony No. 2; Artifical Paradises; After a reading of Guerra Junqueiro
8.572370 Symphony No. 3; Death of Manfred; Suite Aletejana No. 2
8.570624 Symphony No. 4; Vathek

Exultant lyricism from a justifiably confident Portuguese late-romantic.