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Jean-Noël Coucoureux
Classica, April 2017

With this disc, we invite you to discover rare pianistic repertoire… [an] initiative by Sofia Lourenço, who presents these works of her compatriots with pride and forcefulness. © 2017 Classica

Burkhard Schäfer
Piano News, November 2016

It’s very pleasing that this music has found its way onto CD, especially Daddi’s highly appealing and tasteful works for piano. This is a very welcome CD that boasts real rarities. © 2016 Piano News

Motoiwa Yato
Record Geijutsu, October 2016

This is a must have album if you are a fan of Portuguese piano music from the Romantic era. José Viana da Mota (1868–1948), who once studied under Liszt, was an accomplished European pianist. Although his works have been recorded a number of times in the past, the pieces by João Guilherme Daddi (1813–1887) are heard here in their world première recordings.

Daddi was born in Portugal’s northern city of Porto. He made his first public appearance at the age of nine, and became widely known as a child prodigy. In 1845, his performance of Thalberg’s piano duo works with Liszt at the Lisbon Opera House was a huge success. He subsequently established himself as an important figure on Lisbon’s music scene and paved the way for the establishment of its Chamber Music Society.

Daddi was also known for his important contribution to raising the profile of German/Austrian Classic-Romantic works. Although many of his opera paraphrases and salon pieces have been recorded, it’s four of his character pieces that appear on this album. There’s a sense of a gentle leaning towards Romanticism, something commonly heard in works by Spanish composers of the same era. 

Viana da Mota was born on São Tomé island, then a Portuguese territory in Africa. He, too, was a child prodigy. After attending the Conservatory of Lisbon, he continued his studies with the great piano teachers, the brothers Xaver and Phillipp Scharwenka.  At the same time, he became a devoted Wagnerian and stayed in touch with Liszt. After a number of years making a name for himself abroad, he returned to Portugal in 1893 and became the director at the Conservatory of Lisbon. Following the Franco-Prussian War, and in a spirit of promoting national identity, Viana da Mota produced a number of Portuguese-themed works. Notable among them are the Cenas Portugesas Op. 9 & Op.18.

This album features Sofia Lourenço in refreshing and emotionally rich performances. © 2016 Record Geijutsu

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

Outside of major urban arias of Portugal, classical music was not overly popular in the 19th century, and there were few composers who reached internationally acclaim. Though today a forgotten name, João Guilherme Daddi, was an exception, having become a child prodigy pianist at the age of nine. Born in Oporto in 1813, he was to become better known as a major concert promoter that introduced much hitherto unperformed music in Portugal. His own output was primarily for sacred use, though he was to contribute a collection of piano pieces, the four included here being largely of a salon nature, the opening Andante Cantabile—a curious name for a work that becomes so dramatic, showing a composer of considerable merit. My research as to dates of composition have, like the sleeve note writer, drawn a blank, though they do seem to have come from different phases of his life, the rather childlike Douce Illusion seemingly from a different composer from those surrounding it. José Vianna da Motta enjoyed a very different life and became an international celebrity through the support of the Royal family who sent him to Berlin to study. From there he was to appear around the world as a keyboard virtuoso in the mould of Liszt. As a composer he sought popularity by writing readily enjoyable salon music, though latterly he tried to bring a nationalist flavour in his two sets of Cenas Portuguesas. Even here it is charming music aimed at the amateur pianist, but apart from a passage in Da Mota’s Ballade, we do not find out much about the Portuguese pianist, Sofia Lourenço, though she is a very clean fingered pianist who has the ability to charm the ear. Pleasing sound. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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