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Jorge Calado
Expresso, May 2013

Music box—the water and the curling are the strong themes of Luís Tinoco’s recording

(…) The work that gives the title to the CD, “Round Time” (2002), is the only one purely orchestral and its also the oldest one. With the orchestra enhanced with a generous percussion section, Tinoco creates varied atmospheres, sometimes quiet, other times hallucinatory, spectral, but also gravitational, that keep the listener in a state of animated suspension. “Round Time” starts well, with a few sound drops suddenly interrupted by amazements of grandiosity and impressionistic flashes. The work’s unity is achieved through a continuous inner pulse—heightened now and then by energy boosts—, and the closing of the piece emerges with an unexpected and short jazzy passage. (…)

(…) Tinoco writes well for voice—the operas “Evil Machines” (2008) and “Paint Me” (2010) prove this—and he has worked before with the three soprano of this recording. “From the Depth of Distance” (2008), premièred by the Algarve Orchestra and the Albany Symphony, sets fragments of Fernando Pessoa’s “Ode Marítima” and Walt Whitman’s “Passage to India”, in the limpid and luminous voice of Ana Quintans. (…) [From the Depth of Distance] Is, to me, the highlight of the program—a truly mesmerizing work. The subject and the rhythm of the voyage, the sea and the train are present in the singer’s vocalizes and in the ethereal balance that lullabies and enchants us. © Expresso

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

Born in Portugal in 1969, Luis Tinoco spent his mature musical education in the UK at the Royal Academy of Music in London and latterly at York University. Though the record sleeve claims that he ‘creates a sound world that is uniquely, distinctively Portuguese’, I hear the style of composing I frequently find in York University concerts, and has a modern and cosmopolitan quality. Not that it is a bad thing, as it offers a broader base than falling into a nationalistic rut. After the refreshingly innovative orchestral score, Round Time, the disc is given to works for soprano and orchestra, the first, From the Depth of Distance, being a setting to music of poems by Walt Whitman and Alvaro de Campos. Tinoco here uses the female voice in an unusual way, often taking it very high for extended passages and where it becomes thin in texture. That format of having the orchestra painting pictures, against which the voice declaims the text, continues in the 2007 Search Songs, sending it screeching into the stratospheres as it relates madness in the first of five songs, Towards the End. That, and the remainder of the poems, are certainly unpleasant in content, the texts and an English translation being contained in the booklet. If the Songs from The Solitary Dreamer, composed two years ago, are less contorted in their literary content, they are still often sad. All three works must have been difficult and exceedingly taxing for the three sopranos, Ana Quintans, Yeree Suh, Raquel Camarinha, one singing in each of the three works. The Gulbenkian orchestra, under the American conductor, David Alan Miller, make some very interesting sounds of unusual texture, and the recording engineers have produced a stunning recording. © David’s Review Corner

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