Classical & Contemporary Music

NUM 1139

Title: Obras Para Violoncelo e Piano
Artists: Jed Barahal, Christina Margotto

Composers: Luís de Freitas Branco, Fernando Lopes-Graça

The Sonata for Cello and Piano is justly considered to be one of Luís de Freitas Branco’s finest works, as well as one of the finest in all of Portuguese chamber music.  Composed in 1913, it had its premiere in Barcelona in 1914, and was published by Sassetti (Lisbon) in 1927.  Written a few years before the composer’s distinctly neoclassic period (which can be situated, grosso modo, from the 1920’s on), the Cello Sonata combines a basically classical structure with some elemental French tendencies of the turn of the century.  In the opinion of Paulo Ferreira de Castro, “it represents a particularly happy synthesis of the architectural strictness of the German model and a keen appreciation of the sensual ideals of the French tradition.
In addition to this work, Freitas Branco wrote a number of other compositions in a classical style during the second decade of the 20th Century.  Among these are his Sonata nº 1 for Violin and Piano (1907), the String Quartet (1911) and his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1916).  Most of these works are rooted in the cyclical method of composition used by the Belgian-French school of César Franck, and the Cello Sonata is one of the best examples of Freitas Branco’s use of this technique.  He used the same technique in many later works, notably in his four Symphonies, and it became an important tool in his musical language.
Accordingly, the Cello Sonata is unified by a thematic source found in all four movements (Moderato – Muito Vivo – Muito Moderado – Muito Vivo).  The melodic fragment introduced by the cello early in the first movement serves as a kind of thematic fountainhead from which the various rhythmic and melodic elements that make up the rest of the sonata spring.  While in formal terms the Cello Sonata owes much to Franck, its harmonic style is associated not only with the Belgian composer’s neo-romantic heritage, but with Gabriel Fauré and Vincent d’Indy as well.  Its rich colors and its sinuous and ambivalent character reveal a composer whose refined taste gave birth to a musical discourse that is both fluid and seductive.  Another of the sonata’s virtues is its very idiomatic writing for the cello which takes advantage of the instrument’s lyric potential and uses the registers where its tone and sound quality are most impressive.

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07/07/2009 Posted by | Classical Music, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NUM 1139