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Fernando Lopes-Graça – Songs and Folk Songs • 3

‘Fernando Lopes-Graça was one of the most important Portuguese composers of the 20th century. A victim of political persecution by Antonio de Oliveira Salazars' dictatorial regime, he dedicated an enormous amount of work to chamber music, with a particular emphasis on works for voice and piano. A profoundly cultivated person, he wrote songs with texts by the greatest Portuguese poets. In this third volume of his Songs and Folk Songs, the English and French songs are heard in their world premiere recordings, and complement some of his most important settings of Portuguese poetry.’

Nuno Vieira de Almeida, piano

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906–1994)
Songs and Folk Songs, Vol. 3

Susana Gaspar, Soprano
Nuno Vieira de Almeida, Piano

Fernando Lopes-Graça, one of Portugal’s most prolific and innovative 20th-century composers, was steeped in the folk songs of various provenances. In this third instalment (the earlier volumes are on 8.579039 and 8.579082) Lopes-Graça sets some of the greatest of all Portuguese poets. His exploration of harmonic complexity and progressive writing is distantly rooted in Debussy and laced with other subtle French elements. Premiere recordings of the kaleidoscopic Old English and French songs, which run the gamut of emotions, are among his earliest settings of foreign folk songs.

Listen to an extract from Por que vossa beleza a si se vença
(‘Now that your beauty doth better itself’)
About the Artists

Portuguese soprano Susana Gaspar was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in 2011–13 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in 2013 she represented Portugal at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Her main operatic roles include Violetta (La traviata), Mimì (La Bohème), Cio Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Manon (Manon), Marguerite (Faust), Gilda (Rigoletto), Vittelia (La clemenza di Tito), Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande) and Governess (The Turn of the Screw).

Pianist Nuno Vieira de Almeida has resurrected many forgotten works for voice and piano by a number of important Portuguese composers. He has premiered many works by Fernando Lopes-Graça, Joly Braga Santos and Luís de Freitas Branco, and recorded them extensively. He has also given first performances in Portugal of works by Benjamin Britten, Hugo Wolf, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern. He is a teacher of repertoire and coordinator of the voice department at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa.

More albums of music by Fernando Lopes-Graça
Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Nebolsin • Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto – Casa da Música
‘These works are a real find.’
Symphony for Orchestra
Rustic Suite • December Poem

Royal Scottish National Orchestra • Cassuto
‘[T]his is a magnificent release on all counts. The performances and the recording are superb but—more importantly—it allows for a good appraisal of some of this endearing composer’s finest works.’
MusicWeb International
‘Everything is expertly played, and sound is bright and balanced.’
American Record Guide
‘I recommend this disc for the performances and the undoubted integrity of the composer’s work.’

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