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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, March 2016

…the music is filled with an infectious nationalist fervor, with ample supplies of winsome melody and, in the outer movements, plenty of brass-drenched Lisztian bravado, not to mention a smattering of attractive orchestral touches. …the work is tightly linked thematically. But there’s a fair amount of variety as well… © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Stepthen Estep
The Absolute Sound, December 2015

Three lovely, short pieces round out the program, more ethnic and festive than the symphony and tone poem. The orchestra plays enthusiastically… © 2015 The Absolute Sound



Hubert Culot
MusicWeb International, November 2015

Cassuto’s championing of Portuguese music is wholehearted as many of his earlier recording… He secures superb readings of these works which deserve wider exposure. This is certainly the case with Vianna da Motta’s substantial and often beautiful symphony. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic prove a most sympathetic partner and deliver excellent readings of all these pieces. The recording is again very fine and Cassuto’s notes informative as ever. 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. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

José Vianna Da Motta will remain in history books as one of the most remarkable pianists of the late 19th century, and said to surpass Liszt in technical brilliance. He may well have also gone on to be one of Portugal’s finest composers had the Second Viennese School never been born, for disillusioned by all they represented, he ceased composing in 1910. A student with Liszt and Hans von Bülow, his pedigree was founded in the Romantic era, as demonstrated in the four movements of his Sinfonia, A Patria (To the Homeland), a work completed in 1895 when he was twenty-seven. Its content is said to reflect his admiration for those who sailed from Portugal to make contact with people living in far distant places. After a purposeful opening, the long and yearning quality of the second slow movement, contrasts with the vivacity of the following dance and colourfully orchestrated finale. The tone poem, Ines de Castro, forms the central part of the disc—which contains all of his orchestral works—and relates the story of the young Portuguese crown-prince, Pedro, who is married to a Spanish princess, but falls in love with Ines, a young member of her retinue. The King orders her to be murdered to bring an end to the romance, but on his coronation day Pedro has Ines body exhumed and placed next to him on the throne. Written when Viana was eighteen, it pictures a tender love mixed with their strong emotions towards each other. The disc concludes with four encore-length pieces in light and very happy mood. The distinguished Portuguese conductor, Álvaro Cassuto, continues his series that is bringing to our attention the seldom played symphonic music of his homeland. Here he has the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in fine form, the woodwind, who play such an important role in the Sinfonia, being particularly outstanding. The sound quality is very good. © 2015 David’s Review Corner



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, October 2015

Once again Maestro Cassuto gives us rousing renditions of more Portuguese rarities, this time with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His performances of the symphony and tone poem far surpass what little competition there is, while the final three selections are world premieres. © 2015 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review





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