Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1908 - 1993)
Suite Rústica No.1 (1950) [14:53]
December Poem (1961) [10:11]
Festival March (1954) [6:47]
Symphony for Orchestra (1944) [34:39]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Álvaro Cassuto
rec. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, 26-27 July 2011
NAXOS 8.572892 [66:30] 

Experience Classicsonline

With his somewhat younger contemporary Joly Braga Santos, Fernando Lopes-Graça is undoubtedly one of the most important Portuguese composers from the first half of the 20th century. His output is literally enormous and ranges from short didactic piano pieces to substantial works in various genres. He also devoted much time and scholarship to editing and arranging Portuguese folk music - a voice that is rarely absent in his own music.
 
The Suite Rústica No.1 dates from 1950 and its six movements are arranged in a straight-forward way though spiced with mild dissonance sometimes recalling Milhaud’s Suite Provençale. Four out of the six movements are simple dance tunes deftly arranged and colourfully scored but the two slower movements (No.3 - Andante and No.5 - Lento, non troppo) are somewhat more serious. Just listen to the almost Mahlerian Andante. Incidentally, Lopes-Graça did indeed compose three Rustic Suites but for different instrumental forces. Suite Rústica No.2 of 1965 is for string quartet (once available on Portugalsom SP 4036 reviewed here several years ago) and Suite Rústica No.3 is for wind ensemble; I do not know whether it has been recorded or not.
 
On the other hand there is not a single hint of folk music in Poema de Dezembre (“December Poem”). This is a meaty tone poem in which a rather dark and at times troubled mood prevails. The “red thread” running through the entire work is the oboe melody heard at the outset. It keeps reappearing in one guise or another and providing the dreamy coda of this very beautiful piece that definitely deserves wider exposure.
 
Festival March is by comparison slightly less satisfying, possibly because one expects something brighter and more festive than what one actually hears. Even so there are many felicitous touches of scoring in this short piece - try the eerily dancing horns (at about 0.50 into the work) that may remind one of Stravinsky's Petrushka. There is actually more than one hint of Stravinsky's music in this very piece and in other works of Lopes-Graça. This short work may not be among Lopes-Graça's greatest achievements but there are fine things enough in it to make it worth more than the occasional hearing.
 
Sinfonia per orquesta is Lopes-Graça's only symphony and one of his more substantial achievements. This is a weighty, deeply serious and sincere piece of music-making. It is in three sizeable movements of which the outer ones are by far the weightiest, the concluding Passacaglia particularly so. The very title of the first movement Allegro rapsodico is rather deceptive in that it actually conceals a developed and tightly argued sonata movement that builds to an imposing climax before reverting to the arresting gesture of the opening. The second movement Intermezzo may be shorter but is certainly not as easy-going as one might think. Its structure is more straightforward than that of the outer movements but the thematic material is rather angular and animated so that one might regard this movement as the symphony's Scherzo. As Álvaro Cassuto rightly states in his detailed and well informed insert notes, the third movement Passacaglia is the symphony's most complex movement. It is also the most difficult to bring out successfully. This is mainly because of the abruptness and capricious character of the variations that do not unfold as seamlessly as in, say, the final Passacaglia in Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony. The variations, however, proceed towards an imposing climax, probably the most impressive one in the entire work. This quickly dissipates and leads into the coda, in fact yet another variation on a fragment of the Passacaglia's theme. It consists of a mighty sound wave receding into softly sustained chords. Lopes-Graça's Symphony is unquestionably a big work and it deserves to be fully appreciated. It’s also a rather complex piece and a convincing performance calls for some considerable preparation and commitment. This it clearly gets in this strongly committed and well prepared reading - a feather in the cap of both Cassuto and the RSNO.
 
Álvaro Cassuto's association with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has already yielded some rewarding results with their Braga Santos disc - Naxos 8.572815 that I reviewed here some time ago. The release under review clearly confirms that conductor and orchestra are obviously on the same wavelength. I hope that this association will go on for there is still much worthwhile music by Portuguese composers to travel outside Portugal. As far as Lopes-Graça's music goes there are many works that cry out for brand new recordings. I would welcome new recordings of História Trágica-Marítima, Viagens na minha terra and the imposing and deeply moving Requiem while not forgetting some of his concertos and miscellaneous orchestral works.
 
In short this is a magnificent release on all counts. The performances and the recording are superb but - more importantly - it allows for a good appraisal of some of this endearing composer's finest works. A bargain and no mistake. 

Hubert Culot 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.