Author Topic: Joly Braga Santos  (Read 74961 times)

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Offline Christo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #440 on: November 28, 2019, 08:23:53 PM »
The first group of works represent his sunny side, the infectiously tuneful music. Encruzhilhada is a mix between his  two phases (a very appropriate name btw!), and the last group contains his more demanding stuff. I'm amazed by how dramatic his change was, but not certainly negative, in fact, I enjoyed enormously the works of his late period, eg. the Symphonic Variations (not to be confused with the Alentejo Variations), the Three Symphonic Sketches and the Variations Concertantes for Strings and Harp gave me the strongest impression, it's amazing music, dark and threatening too! Braga Santos knew how to create suspense and nightmarish atmospheres, who would believe it?  :D

Totally agree with your observations & read them all with nodding agreement (I 'discovered' Braga Santos for myself in the late 1990s and am really happy to see that the bunch of you here feel very much the same about this fabulous composer).

BTW, just as an anecdote: during my first travel (by Interrrail, unlimited railway traveling for one month throughout Europe for students - and one can imagine how many nights we just slept in trains to save money and get everything out of it ;-) back in 1984, when we spent two days in Lisbon, I recall having seen these early Braga Santos CDs in a shop window closed at Sunday's; I always regretted that I didn't have the opportunity to buy one, because we left the city that night, and felt relieved when I finally discovered a music store in the Amsterdam Ferdinand Bol Street in the later 1990s that imported these Portugalsom CDs, then still rare, directly from Portugal (and didn't sell much so that I was able to acquire the whole lot during the sales).

Your appreciation of his tougher style from the 1960s and 1970s - he more or less returned to a more approachable style in the 1980s as you observed - is an idea I also happen to share. It even applies to his two last symphonies, but hearing the right recording is a help. Especially the Fifth shows all these capacities in the most 'atmospheric' recording of the three extant, IMHO:

… 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 Symphonic Addict

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #441 on: November 28, 2019, 08:33:54 PM »
Totally agree with your observations & read them all with nodding agreement (I 'discovered' Braga Santos for myself in the late 1990s and am really happy to see that the bunch of you here feel very much the same about this fabulous composer).

BTW, just as an anecdote: during my first travel (by Interrrail, unlimited railway traveling for one month throughout Europe for students - and one can imagine how many nights we just slept in trains to save money and get everything out of it ;-) back in 1984, when we spent two days in Lisbon, I recall having seen these early Braga Santos CDs in a shop window closed at Sunday's; I always regretted that I didn't have the opportunity to buy one, because we left the city that night, and felt relieved when I finally discovered a music store in the Amsterdam Ferdinand Bol Street in the later 1990s that imported these Portugalsom CDs, then still rare, directly from Portugal (and didn't sell much so that I was able to acquire the whole lot during the sales).

Your appreciation of his tougher style from the 1960s and 1970s - he more or less returned to a more approachable style in the 1980s as you observed - is an idea I also happen to share. It even applies to his two last symphonies, but hearing the right recording is a help. Especially the Fifth shows all these capacities in the most 'atmospheric' recording of the three extant, IMHO:



Quite interesting to read those anecdotes, Christo. Those Portugalsom discs are like a treasure these days, likewise that unusual Decca disc you posted! I never thought it appeared on that label.

I remember not liking, or better, understanding the last two symphonies when I heard them for the first time. Very challenging for my tender ears, but now it's all so different. And thus far I don't know a work by him I truly dislike.

Offline Christo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #442 on: November 28, 2019, 08:55:15 PM »
Quite interesting to read those anecdotes, Christo. Those Portugalsom discs are like a treasure these days, likewise that unusual Decca disc you posted! I never thought it appeared on that label.

I remember not liking, or better, understanding the last two symphonies when I heard them for the first time. Very challenging for my tender ears, but now it's all so different. And thus far I don't know a work by him I truly dislike.
Great to learn, the early LP recording of No. 5 BTW appeared on cd in this guise:
… 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 #443 on: November 30, 2019, 12:35:13 PM »
Totally agree with your observations & read them all with nodding agreement (I 'discovered' Braga Santos for myself in the late 1990s and am really happy to see that the bunch of you here feel very much the same about this fabulous composer).

BTW, just as an anecdote: during my first travel (by Interrrail, unlimited railway traveling for one month throughout Europe for students - and one can imagine how many nights we just slept in trains to save money and get everything out of it ;-) back in 1984, when we spent two days in Lisbon, I recall having seen these early Braga Santos CDs in a shop window closed at Sunday's; I always regretted that I didn't have the opportunity to buy one, because we left the city that night, and felt relieved when I finally discovered a music store in the Amsterdam Ferdinand Bol Street in the later 1990s that imported these Portugalsom CDs, then still rare, directly from Portugal (and didn't sell much so that I was able to acquire the whole lot during the sales).

Your appreciation of his tougher style from the 1960s and 1970s - he more or less returned to a more approachable style in the 1980s as you observed - is an idea I also happen to share. It even applies to his two last symphonies, but hearing the right recording is a help. Especially the Fifth shows all these capacities in the most 'atmospheric' recording of the three extant, IMHO:


You should have smashed into the shop.
 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 Christo

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #444 on: November 30, 2019, 03:33:38 PM »
You should have smashed into the shop.
 8)
We are rather familiar with the way some nice English visitors do their shopping in places like Amsterdam, but I hadn't learnt the trick in time to apply it in Lisbon, very sorry!
… 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 #445 on: December 01, 2019, 12:12:55 AM »
We are rather familiar with the way some nice English visitors do their shopping in places like Amsterdam, but I hadn't learnt the trick in time to apply it in Lisbon, very sorry!

LOL - yes, most of my Christmas shopping is done that way.
 ;D
"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 Symphonic Addict

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #446 on: December 30, 2019, 05:31:08 PM »


In the past days I was listening to this fresh release. The SQ No. 1 has the Braga Santos's trademarks, it's an alluring and merry work but I felt it was a little overlong for its material. It's a nice piece but not a special one. The SQ No. 2 is in the same vein than the previous one but it's much more succinct and eventually successful. I especially liked the folksy 3rd movement. The String Sextet is, in my view, the strongest piece here. A severe work, recognizable for its thorny sounds, very reminiscent of Prokofiev's idiom overall I thought. Quite rewarding music.

Whilst I did enjoy the content of the CD, I don't consider it mandatory. I hope Toccata will bring us more releases of his chamber music soon, though.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #447 on: January 03, 2020, 02:59:42 AM »


In the past days I was listening to this fresh release. The SQ No. 1 has the Braga Santos's trademarks, it's an alluring and merry work but I felt it was a little overlong for its material. It's a nice piece but not a special one. The SQ No. 2 is in the same vein than the previous one but it's much more succinct and eventually successful. I especially liked the folksy 3rd movement. The String Sextet is, in my view, the strongest piece here. A severe work, recognizable for its thorny sounds, very reminiscent of Prokofiev's idiom overall I thought. Quite rewarding music.

Whilst I did enjoy the content of the CD, I don't consider it mandatory. I hope Toccata will bring us more releases of his chamber music soon, though.
Thanks for this review Cesar. Good to know.
"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 Symphonic Addict

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Re: Joly Braga Santos
« Reply #448 on: June 29, 2020, 10:58:20 AM »
New release: