Author Topic: Joly Braga Santos  (Read 55037 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #420 on: September 17, 2018, 01:01:30 PM »
Excellent, Jeffrey! That work was one of the most enjoyable along with the Symphonic Prelude No. 2 Lisboa. The rest of the works don't disappoint at all either.

A friendly pic of the great Portuguese gentleman  :)
Indeed Cesar! I've listened to the whole CD now with much pleasure. Even the Piano Concerto, in his later and less accessible style, held my attention. At one point near the start of the third movement it sounded like the old Braga Santos was trying to break through! A fine CD - I agree.
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline relm1

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #421 on: September 23, 2018, 03:29:26 PM »
What do you consider to be his symphonic masterpiece?  Also, has anyone heard any of his operas?  I was listening to the new Piano Concerto Naxos release and thought it sounds very theatrical.  Would like to hear his operas.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #422 on: September 23, 2018, 03:34:18 PM »
What do you consider to be his symphonic masterpiece?

I'll go out on a limb and say that the consensus is Symphony No. 4.


Offline relm1

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #423 on: September 23, 2018, 04:17:14 PM »
So I am a little confused by Braga Santos.  His lyrical early music is fantastic, but his piano concerto which is from his late phase is no worse than any Prokofiev piano concerto from half a century earlier.  Did he slowly devolve away from tonality?  What exactly was his relationship with atonality because I don't know what to make of his later music.  I find the new Naxos recording of early music plus the late piano concerto very comfortable listening yet I didn't quite get Symphony No. 5 and 6 which preceded it.    He is sort of a very mild progressive in his later stage.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #424 on: September 23, 2018, 07:08:04 PM »
What do you consider to be his symphonic masterpiece?  Also, has anyone heard any of his operas?  I was listening to the new Piano Concerto Naxos release and thought it sounds very theatrical.  Would like to hear his operas.

Definitely no. 4 - one of my very favorite classical works - though nos. 1-3 are fantastic as well, as is the more "difficult" no. 5 (for some odd reason, I haven't gotten round to listening to no. 6 yet).  Unfortunately, his operas remain unrecorded - perhaps Naxos has them up their sleeve?
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #425 on: September 23, 2018, 07:14:15 PM »
So I am a little confused by Braga Santos.  His lyrical early music is fantastic, but his piano concerto which is from his late phase is no worse than any Prokofiev piano concerto from half a century earlier.  Did he slowly devolve away from tonality?  What exactly was his relationship with atonality because I don't know what to make of his later music.  I find the new Naxos recording of early music plus the late piano concerto very comfortable listening yet I didn't quite get Symphony No. 5 and 6 which preceded it.    He is sort of a very mild progressive in his later stage.

He seems to have had a very abrupt stylistic shift in the late 1950s/early 60s - not sure what inspired the change, as we lack an easily available detailed biography of the composer. Although his later works are significantly darker in tone and more dissonant than his earlier ones, they never lapse into noisy atonality and always have purpose to them. In fact, there are even some spots in his later works where it sounds like (as Jeffrey mentioned earlier) the "old Braga Santos is trying to break through" (e.g., a passage near the end of his Cello Concerto). Oddly enough, Braga Santos' later music sometimes reminds me of some of the later symphonies of William Schuman in its predominantly dark, angry, almost nightmarish atmosphere. Amazon reviewer G.D. vividly describes the 5th Symphony as containing "...thumping drums and flaring brass amidst string textures that reminds me of old steam engines letting out puffs of vapor dissolving against the troubled, overcast night sky." Couldn't have said it better myself!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 07:19:26 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #426 on: September 23, 2018, 09:21:41 PM »
What do you consider to be his symphonic masterpiece?  Also, has anyone heard any of his operas?  I was listening to the new Piano Concerto Naxos release and thought it sounds very theatrical.  Would like to hear his operas.

I'd say symphonies 3 and 4 although the old Portugalsom (long gone) performance of Symphony 3 with the LSO is better than the Marco Polo (it's the other way round with Symphony 4 where the Marco Polo, without the chorus at the end, is superior). Many thanks to Christo for alerting me to the earlier LSO recording of Symphony 3.

Kyle's point about symphonies 5 and 6 being reminiscent of the later William Scuman symphonies is interesting and I agree with him.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 09:23:49 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #427 on: Today at 03:17:48 AM »
I'd say symphonies 3 and 4 although the old Portugalsom (long gone) performance of Symphony 3 with the LSO is better than the Marco Polo (it's the other way round with Symphony 4 where the Marco Polo, without the chorus at the end, is superior). Many thanks to Christo for alerting me to the earlier LSO recording of Symphony 3.

Kyle's point about symphonies 5 and 6 being reminiscent of the later William Scuman symphonies is interesting and I agree with him.
Agreed on all points. Both Nos. 3 and 4 are my favourites, in the specific recordings Vandermolen mentions here. Though it's good to have another recording of No. 4 with final chorus - the Romanian RTV SO and 'George Enescu Choir' under Silva Pereira, a recording from 1987 - the Marco Polo is indeed much better.

I was happy enough to 'discover' Braga Santos in the old days, before there were any Marco Polo or Naxos recordings, and these 'old' Strauss/Portugalsom CDs retain a special place in my heart. Actually in the cases of both No. 3 and No. 5 these 'old ones' are the recordings that I still prefer.


… 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: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #428 on: Today at 04:27:09 AM »
Agreed on all points. Both Nos. 3 and 4 are my favourites, in the specific recordings Vandermolen mentions here. Though it's good to have another recording of No. 4 with final chorus - the Romanian RTV SO and 'George Enescu Choir' under Silva Pereira, a recording from 1987 - the Marco Polo is indeed much better.

I was happy enough to 'discover' Braga Santos in the old days, before there were any Marco Polo or Naxos recordings, and these 'old' Strauss/Portugalsom CDs retain a special place in my heart. Actually in the cases of both No. 3 and No. 5 these 'old ones' are the recordings that I still prefer.

It would be great if those old Portugalsom recordings could be reissued maybe as a boxed set. I recently picked up a Portugalsom boxed set of the symphonies of Braga Santos's teacher Freitas Branco, so maybe there is some hope.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).