David's Review Corner
, October 2011
Having surveyed the orchestral music of Luis de Freitas Branco, Naxos now turn to his modest catalogue of chamber music. Born into a wealthy Lisbon family in 1890, he enjoyed a privileged musical education in Berlin and Paris. It was the French metropolis that was the major influence, though he had already fallen under the spell of Cesar Franck, having been introduced to his music by his mentor in Lisbon. Indeed his First Sonata, composed when he was seventeen, is directly derived from Franck’s well-known violin sonata, its long flowing melodies redolent of that score. It is nonetheless a most attractive score with a vibrant and joyful finale. It was to be thirty-one years, by which time he had passed through one world war, before he returned to the genre. While it now carries a new world modernity in its harmonic language, it has hardly changed in mood, the final allegro a vivacious conclusion. To complete the disc we hear the influence of Chausson in the Prelude for violin and piano. With a large and wide vibrato, the Portuguese violinist, Carlos Damas plays with all the passion required, his technique equal to the many demands though not always ideal in dynamic shading. The Polish pianist, Anna Tomasik, is a forceful and ever responsive partner. Added reverberation is wrapped around the violin as if playing in a different acoustic to the piano, though don’t let that dissuade you sampling such pleasing and rewarding scores.