RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Luís de Freitas Branco was the towering figure in Portugese music during the first half of the 20th Century.
This second disc of a four-volume series of Freitas Branco’s orchestral works features his Second Symphony which combines elements as disparate as Gregorian chant, the boisterous spirit of a Brucknerian scherzo and the influence of Franck and Debussy into a superbly integrated Romantic work.
His tone poem After a reading of Guerra Junqueiro was inspired by Richard Strauss, whose opulent orchestrations it echoes. Artificial Paradises, an eerie piece inspired by de Quincy’s Confessions of an Opium Eater, is regarded as Freitas Branco’s masterpiece par excellence.
“Cassuto's cycle has taken him to a variety of orchestras, all producing excellent results, and Marco Polo's various engineers have presented it in fine sound. The series as a whole has moved Braga Santos from the periphery of twentieth-century music rather closer to the centre…. One hopes the acclaim will have persuaded Marco Polo to send Cassuto back to record more of the Portuguese symphonic repertoire. In the meantime, I recommend this release as heartily as all its predecessors.”
International Record Review