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Joly Braga Santos was born in Lisbon in 1924 and died there in 1988, at the height of his musical creativity. Although he composed only six symphonies, he was undoubtedly the leading Portuguese symphonist of the century, possibly of all time. We follow up our recordings of those symphonies with a selection of his symphonic overtures and essays, together with his only Piano Concerto.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is directed by Portugal's most distinguished conductor, Álvaro Cassuto, a close friend of the composer prior to his death. The soloist in the virtuosic concerto is the award-winning Croatian pianist Goran Filipec, who already has seven highly successful releases on the Naxos and Grand Piano labels to his credit.

BRAGA SANTOS, J.: Piano Concerto / Symphonic Overtures Nos. 1 and 2
Joly BRAGA SANTOS (1924–1988)
Piano Concerto*
Symphonic Overtures Nos. 1 and 2

Goran Filipec, Piano *
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Álvaro Cassuto

Joly Braga Santos was Portugal’s greatest orchestral composer, and this recording presents eight world premiere recordings including his very first work for orchestra, the Symphonic Overture No. 1. This and the Symphonic Overture No. 2 share a unified structure and lyrical themes, contrasting with the sombre Prelude, originally written for an intensely tragic opera. Braga Santos’s characterful four ‘miniatures’ (tracks 4–7) are brought together to form an attractive suite, while his only Piano Concerto is a virtuoso spectacle with a large part for percussion and a gloriously anarchic approach to timbre and tonality.

Listen to an extract from Symphonic Prelude

Listen an extract from the Piano Concerto:
I. Allegro vivace

About the Artists
Álvaro Cassuto © Anita Ayash
Álvaro Cassuto is Portugal’s foremost conductor. A recipient of the Tanglewood Koussevitsky Prize among many other honours, he has enjoyed a career of high international acclaim. This includes almost two decades in the United States where his annual subscription concerts at Carnegie Hall with the National Orchestra of New York were enthusiastically received by The New York Times. In 2009 the President of Portugal bestowed on him the degree of Grand Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada, the highest honour ever granted to a musician.
Goran Filipec
Croatian pianist Goran Filipec is a recent laureate of the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque of the Ferenc Liszt Society of Budapest for his 2016 Naxos recording of Liszt’s Paganini Studies (see below). Previous laureates include Vladimir Horowitz, György Cziffra, Alfred Brendel, Claudio Arrau, Zoltán Kocsis and Maurizio Pollini. Goran Filipec performs regularly in Europe, the United States, South America and Japan.

For more information, visit

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic © Mark McNulty
Founded in 1840, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra and one of the world’s oldest concert societies. The orchestra performs over 70 concerts each season both at its home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and in other venues across the city. It also performs widely throughout the UK and internationally, most recently touring to China, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic and Japan.

For more information, visit

More recordings by the artists featured on our new release
Symphony for Orchestra
Rustic Suite • December Poem

Royal Scottish National Orchestra
“…this 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
  Listen to an extract from Suite Rustica No. 1:
VI. Allegro moderato
“A very fine release that may be safely recommended to anyone wanting to know more about Portuguese music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
MusicWeb International
Symphony No. 4
Symphonic Variations

National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland • Cassuto
“This performance of the Fourth Symphony in particular, effectively its CD premiere, must be accounted an event of the first magnitude,
not to be missed.”
  Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 4:
Allegro tranquillo
“With a technique that makes you forget just how exacting these pieces are to play, Filipec not only generates the thrill of a live performance but does so with a disarming swagger and playfulness.”
  Listen to an extract from
the Grandes études de Paganini:
No. 2 in E flat major
“The more I continued listening to this recital, the more I felt that it was one of the finest all-Liszt discs I had heard for a very long time.”
“…Goran Filipec’s performances…basically left me stunned and speechless from the first notes, and I’m still recovering! This pianist commands a transcendental technique and possesses an unflappable sonority that refuses to splinter, notwithstanding Bersa’s thickest onslaughts.”
  Listen to an extract from
Piano Sonata in F minor

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