Author Topic: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)  (Read 4915 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« on: January 25, 2015, 12:12:23 AM »
Can't believe that we don't have a Freitas Branco thread ( :o ::) :o)

He was the teacher of one of my favourites, J Braga Santos. I bought the Naxos CDs of his symphonies ( there are four) and was a bit disappointed by some of the earlier ones as they are quite conservative for me but No. 4 (1944-52) is, in my view, a masterpiece,epic and deeply moving with a liturgical sounding ending. It is rather in the spirit of the first four Braga Santos symphonies, which are amongst my favourite works (especially Nos 3 and 4). So, if you fancy something different I would strongly recommend this. Vathek, Symphonic Poem in the form of variations on an Orintal Theme (1913) is also a fine, atmospheric and progressive work by this interesting Portuguese composer:

« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 12:46:57 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline ritter

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 01:18:04 AM »
I must confess I'm not familiar with Freitas Branco's work, but that CD you mention, Vandermolen, looks very attractive. A friend of mine raves about Vathek which, as you also point out, he says is a stunningly progressive and rich composition. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Luis's brother Pedro was a distinguished conductor. I have fond memories of his recording of Falla's El Retablo de Maese Pedro on Hispavox (later transferred to EMI) from the days of LP. I should get the CD transfer (available dirt cheap secondhand via amazon mp sellers):



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Offline Christo

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 02:11:06 AM »
Can't believe that we don't have a Freitas Branco thread ( :o ::) :o)

He was the teacher of one of my favourites, J Braga Santos. I bought the Naxos CDs of his symphonies ( there are four) and was a bit disappointed by some of the earlier ones as they are quite conservative for me but No. 4 (1944-52) is, in my view, a masterpiece,epic and deeply moving with a liturgical sounding ending. It is rather in the spirit of the first four Braga Santos symphonies, which are amongst my favourite works (especially Nos 3 and 4). So, if you fancy something different I would strongly recommend this. Vathek, Symphonic Poem in the form of variations on an Orintal Theme (1913) is also a fine, atmospheric and progressive work by this interesting Portuguese composer:


Exactly my experience with this composer too! I already knew Vathek, from the bunch of Portugal/Strauss cds that I bought in the late 1990s and that made me 'discover' Braga Santos as by far the most outstanding of the Portuguese composers featured on them (especially the Third Symphony by the London SO under Cassuto, a recording I still prefer over his remake for Marco Polo with the Portugal SO).

But Vathek alone was not enough proof and especially Freitas Branco's Second Symphony (1926) came as a disappointment. So I only bought the fourth instalment of the series for the sake of Vathek, and then the Fourth did exactly the same with me as it did with you: finally here's the composer who earned so much admiration from his gifted pupil and inspired him to his own symphonies (the first three were written in Freitas Branco's house in the Valentejo, iirc). Luis de Freitas Branco's Fourth is from 1952, if I recall well, and the first four by Braga Santos were written in the same time.

How do you value the other three, by now?
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 12:31:11 AM »
I must confess I'm not familiar with Freitas Branco's work, but that CD you mention, Vandermolen, looks very attractive. A friend of mine raves about Vathek which, as you also point out, he says is a stunningly progressive and rich composition. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Luis's brother Pedro was a distinguished conductor. I have fond memories of his recording of Falla's El Retablo de Maese Pedro on Hispavox (later transferred to EMI) from the days of LP. I should get the CD transfer (available dirt cheap secondhand via amazon mp sellers):



That's very interesting about his brother. Thank you Ritter. You would enjoy Symphony 4 I'm sure.   :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 12:35:08 AM »
Exactly my experience with this composer too! I already knew Vathek, from the bunch of Portugal/Strauss cds that I bought in the late 1990s and that made me 'discover' Braga Santos as by far the most outstanding of the Portuguese composers featured on them (especially the Third Symphony by the London SO under Cassuto, a recording I still prefer over his remake for Marco Polo with the Portugal SO).

But Vathek alone was not enough proof and especially Freitas Branco's Second Symphony (1926) came as a disappointment. So I only bought the fourth instalment of the series for the sake of Vathek, and then the Fourth did exactly the same with me as it did with you: finally here's the composer who earned so much admiration from his gifted pupil and inspired him to his own symphonies (the first three were written in Freitas Branco's house in the Valentejo, iirc). Luis de Freitas Branco's Fourth is from 1952, if I recall well, and the first four by Braga Santos were written in the same time.

How do you value the other three, by now?

I very much agree with you about the Braga Santos Third symphony being bettered performed on Portugalsom and have you to thank for being able to hear it.  :)
I was just amazed to find the Portugalsom set of the Freitas Branco symphonies available at a not absurd price (£20) on Amazon US, so, once I have smuggled them into the house, I will be working through them and hope to report back in due course.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2015, 03:31:21 PM »
Ha! Perfect timing - I just listened to Vathek again and finally decided to explore Branco beyond the aforementioned Naxos disc. As much as I love the 4th, I'm bracing for disappointment with the other symphonies, but looking forward to hearing them anyway. Now playing:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/1kXoqd6y4a8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/1kXoqd6y4a8</a>

And by the way, Vathek? I know its limited fame stems mostly from the unbelievable 'ligetian' movement but I find the whole thing flat out amazing. Great textures and the overall flow keeps me intrigued from start to finish. And what a finish it is!

Anyone here familiar with the violin concerto?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 07:57:57 AM »
Ha! Perfect timing - I just listened to Vathek again and finally decided to explore Branco beyond the aforementioned Naxos disc. As much as I love the 4th, I'm bracing for disappointment with the other symphonies, but looking forward to hearing them anyway. Now playing:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/1kXoqd6y4a8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/1kXoqd6y4a8</a>

And by the way, Vathek? I know its limited fame stems mostly from the unbelievable 'ligetian' movement but I find the whole thing flat out amazing. Great textures and the overall flow keeps me intrigued from start to finish. And what a finish it is!

Anyone here familiar with the violin concerto?

That's my expectations too but let us know what you think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 02:12:24 PM »
Can't believe that we don't have a Freitas Branco thread ( :o ::) :o)

He was the teacher of one of my favourites, J Braga Santos. I bought the Naxos CDs of his symphonies ( there are four) and was a bit disappointed by some of the earlier ones as they are quite conservative for me but No. 4 (1944-52) is, in my view, a masterpiece,epic and deeply moving with a liturgical sounding ending. It is rather in the spirit of the first four Braga Santos symphonies, which are amongst my favourite works (especially Nos 3 and 4). So, if you fancy something different I would strongly recommend this. Vathek, Symphonic Poem in the form of variations on an Orintal Theme (1913) is also a fine, atmospheric and progressive work by this interesting Portuguese composer:


Following the 'Roman Triumph' of my Louis Glass thread hahaha I thought that I'd revive this one. Two excellent works which I've been listening to this evening. Any other admirers? ::)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2016, 07:25:11 PM »
The editors at The Grove consider the first part of his career as being the most interesting.

Be that as it may, he also did some chamber pieces:

Albumblätter, pf, 1907;
Sonata no.1, vn, pf, 1907;
Mirages I e II, pf, 1911;
Str Qt, 1911;
Ária, org, 1913;
Coral, org, 1913;
Sonata, vc, pf, 1913, rev. 1927;
Luar, pf, 1916;
3 peças, pf, 1916;
2 danças, pf, 1917;
10 prelúdios, pf, 1918;
Sonatina, pf, 1930;
Rapsódia portuguesa, org, 1938;
Sonata no.2, vn, pf, 1938;
4 prelúdios, pf, 1940
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 11:16:23 PM »
Cello Sonata


Violin Sonatas
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 11:22:01 PM by Scion7 »
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955) - some vinyl
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2016, 11:38:37 PM »
Cello Sonata & String Quartet: 


Violin Sonatas (Roberto Szidon & Tibor Varga)
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 12:04:14 AM »
Scion 7 thanks. Which do you recommend of these interesting looking chamber music discs?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 12:12:37 AM »
Well I'm happy with the CD version of the Cello Sonata from the "Cello Music from Portugal" album.

And, while the Naxos violin sonatas sound good to me via what I hear on YouTube, the artists are really no match for a combo that includes Roberto Szidon on the Strauss/Portugalsom label - he's a "star" for a reason, even if he's not the principal player on those pieces.   :)  It's been released on CD.  Why the music company thought a cover of some leaves for this would be a good idea for marketing the album boggles the mind.  If you're going to do that, do what Bryan Ferry did for Roxy Music and toss a couple of buxom birds topless in front of the damn ferns!

I'd love to come across that String Quartet LP in a record shoppe some day, but not pay $46 for it - which it went for on eBay.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 12:23:46 AM by Scion7 »
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2016, 12:30:32 AM »
NO                                                                             YES!

         
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2016, 02:33:57 AM »
Thanks. On the basis of your recommendations I will be ordering the Roxy Music album.  8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2016, 03:17:59 AM »
Country Life is an excellent prog-rock record, but that's for another forum.  :P

       I need to find the Violin Concerto and pick that up.
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2016, 04:29:21 AM »
I need to investigate Symphony 3.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Scion7

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2016, 02:08:38 PM »
And where is an album of the piano music?   So much stuff out there - so little time.
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline ritter

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 11:25:31 AM »
Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread:

First listen to this CD:


Vathek is turning out to be as interesting as I was led to expect! Hat tip to vandermolen! At some moments, it sounds very French to me. For instance, the opening, fanfare-like Introduction, reminded me (in its sonorities) of the the opening of Dukas's La Péri...but this music is so varied and colourful, and so forward-looking in many aspects (that Variaton III: Délices des yeux, wow!!!! :o ), that it is anything but derivative. A strong musical voice...

Luis a great composer, Pedro a wonderful conductor...what a remarkable pair of brothers, these Freitas Branco:)
ritter
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Offline Christo

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Re: Luis de Freitas Branco (1890-1955)
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2018, 11:13:20 AM »
Have been playing this recording of the Symphony No. 2 from 1926 over the last weeks and like it much better now. It's also easy to see where Joly Braga Santos found his first symphonic inspiration.
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/xsmf_9AAKho" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/xsmf_9AAKho</a>
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948