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David Hurwitz, September 2013

As with previous issues in this ongoing series of Portuguese music, the performances under Álvaro Cassuto aren’t likely to be bettered. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that all four works were recorded in just two days of sessions, a “rehearse and record” scenario that’s also a tribute to the professionalism of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. They could not have known this music beforehand, but they play it with impressive confidence. Worth collecting. © 2013 Read complete review

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2013

Cassuto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra…are an excellent combination. The conductor clearly knows how to convey what is interesting and enjoyable about this music, and the orchestra plays it expertly, and with zest…there are a few other recordings of these works…but my guess is that they are nearly impossible to obtain at this point, and any reasonable person should be happy with this Naxos disc. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Brian Reinhart
MusicWeb International, June 2013

The sound…is very good and very clear. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra really brings off the luxuriousness and sheer joy of the scores, under Álvaro Cassuto. He knows them better than anybody in the world and writes the booklet notes. This music must be as much fun to play as it is to hear… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Hubert Culot
MusicWeb International, May 2013

As far as I am concerned, de Freitas’s music was completely unknown to me until I received this disc for review…and a nice surprise it proved. This composer’s music is straightforward, often folk-inflected, colourful, tuneful and brilliantly scored. The four scores of his recorded here are all attractive and immensely enjoyable.

Cassuto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra are obviously on the same wave-length and the orchestra clearly enjoys itself in these colourful, unpretentious but entertaining scores.

I have already returned to this lovely disc of refreshingly enjoyable music repeatedly…Do not hesitate: go for it and you will feel much better. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, April 2013

…at the helm of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Maestro Cassuto continues his survey of twentieth century Portuguese music with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail as on his previous Naxos release in this series…He makes a convincing case for these little-known works, which in lesser hands might come off as more ordinary fare. © 2013 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2013

Ballets played an important part in the life and music of the Portuguese composer, Frederico de Freitas, two of his works for the stage included in this release. Born in 1902, he divided his time between conducting and composing, eventually creating a sizable inventory that ranged from symphonic works to chamber music and film scores. Though the notes with the disc tell of his delving into atonal music, he was much influenced by Portuguese folklore, and here the works fall easily and pleasingly on the ear. The Silly Girl’s Dance, divided into 12 sections, tells of the rather shy country girl who covers her embarrassment by doing a silly dance. Then as the story continues she becomes the most beautiful girl anyone has ever seen. The Wall of Love a much shorter score relates how once each year the village girls lean over a wall and wait for the passing boys to select one of the them. A solitary girl is left when the most timid boy approaches, but she befriends him and they go away happy. The disc’s most extended score, the six movements of the Medieval Suite, brings back, in the composer’s own words, ‘the fragrance of medieval Portuguese poetry’. Though it might have echoes of the past, the orchestration often offers the luxuriance of the 20th century, and contains many beautiful solo moments, the flute in the second and fourth movements being particularly beguiling. The story of Ribatejo may not be everyone’s taste as it relates the events in the fiestas to the north-east of Lisbon. The release continues Alvaro Cassuto’s quest to make Portuguese music known worldwide, and he here directs the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who play superbly for him. Outstanding sound quality. © David’s Review Corner

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