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New Freitas Branco Recording

April 24, 2009

On 20 and 21 April 2009, the RTE National Symphony conducted by Álvaro Cassuto recorded Volume 3 of Naxos’s Luis de Freitas Branco Orchestral Works in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. The works featured on the forthcoming Naxos disc are Freitas Branco’s Symphony No. 3, The Death of Manfred and Suite Alentejana No. 2. Phil Rowlands was the Producer of this recording.

The first two volumes are also available on Naxos:

BRANCO Orchestral Works Vol 1
Symphony No 1, Scherzo fantasique,
Suite alentejana No 1

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Álvaro Cassuto, conductor


Luís de Freitas Branco was a pre-eminent figure in Portuguese music of the first half of the twentieth century. This first disc of a four-volume series of Freitas Branco’s orchestral works features the First Symphony, in which the influence of César Franck, Brahms and French musical impressionism is assimilated into his own musical style. The Scherzo Fantastique is a short single movement work, brilliantly orchestrated yet extremely controlled in its use of the orchestral forces. The Suite Alentejana No. 1 is based on the rich musical folklore of the Alentejo, a region of Portugal south of Lisbon where Freitas Branco spent many of his summers.

BRANCO Orchestral Works Vol 2
Symphony No 2, After a Reading of Guerra Junqueiro, Artificial Paradises
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Álvaro Cassuto, conductor


Luís de Freitas Branco was the towering figure in Portugese music during the first half of the 20th Century. His Second Symphony 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.

Luis de Freitas Branco Biography & Discography

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Biography & Discography

Álvaro Cassuto Biography & Discography


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