Thursday, September 18, 2014

Joly Braga Santos - Concerto for Strings - Concerto for Violin, Cello, Strings and Harp - Etc.

One of the greatest (rather unsung) 20th century composers in my humble opinion, is Joly Braga Santos from Portugal. I wouldn't be hesitant to say that he is the most important Portuguese composer & symphonist. His Symphonies are especially fine, I'm blown away each time I revisit them. In particular his first 4 Symphonies (he composed 6) strike me as his best, then again I have to admit I generally appreciate his modal, big-boned and gorgeously neo-romantic works. His 4th Symphony is possibly his best, but all are simply knock-outs. The "Concerto for Strings" of 1951 is a strong example of his earlier modal style. There are many moments in the Concerto that might remind the
listener of Ralph Vaughan Williams, which for me is glorious. There is however, a more "muscular" feel to Braga Santos's music (compared to the Tallis Fantasia for example, which is 100 times the masterpiece yet sonically it's a decent example) and it's extremely rewarding. The rest of the program shows a gradual stylistic change, the "Sinfonietta for Strings" of 1963 for example offers spiky dissonance and denser contrapuntal writing. This progression only continues on with the "Variations Concertantes" for Strings and Harp and the "Concerto for Violin, Cello, Strings and Harp". All four compositions are that of a master, of all periods. Enjoy.




  
Braga_Santos_Concerto_for_Strings_Tz.zip

http://www1.zippyshare.com/v/91125283/file.html

11 comments:

Franz said...

I own all the CDs with the music of Braga Santos edited by Marco Polo.
I agree with you Braga Santos is the most important portuguese composer of XX century and his 3rd and 4th Symphony is wonderful. Thank for your blog of interesting and little known music
Franz

Anonymous said...

Gracias por este composer,thanks Tzadik!! Tapirman.

cjvinthechair said...

Yup - can't do much better than this composer. Wish there were many more like him...OK, so who might be most like him; any thoughts ?

onomatopeira said...

Oh! Is it possible to re-upload the link?

I don't know if Joly Braga Santos is the most important portuguese composer of the 20th century, but he is certainly essential! For me, Fernando Lopes-Graça was the most complete portuguese composer, pedagogue, musicologist and political artistic activist in a dictatorial country that needed to be fighted and saved. The Lopes-Graça work goes from the most "erudit" and complex works to the popular action near the real people.

Joly Braga Santos have different characteristics, so I prefer to do not make comparisons without establish previous criteria.

Once more, I'll be very gratefull if you could re-up this link (that death), ok?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

This will be my first taste of Braga Santos...thank you for sharing.

Tzadik said...

Hi Franz thanks for commenting! Yes Braga Santos is a real force of nature. I also have all the Marco Polo discs, and the recordings are happily all very well done, both the artists involved and the recording quality (MP has been uneven over the years with it's sound engineering) is consistently high. Hope you continue to enjoy..

Tzadik said...

Hola Tapirman you are very welcome! Braga Santos is an amazing composer to get to know :)

Tzadik said...

Hey cjvinthechair (might start calling you cjvitc!) I see you have impeccable taste then ay ;) There's a lot of music that has at least a somewhat similar "feel" although I find Braga Santos to truly be his own man in the best sense. One of my favorite conposers, Ernest (or Ernst) Bloch has written soo much beautiful stuff, I'd say his modality and spirit would be similar. I especially love his Concerto Grosso(s), "Suite Modale" and much else. Another fav of mine, Vagn Holmboe had different styles and much would resonate with you if you do not know his output. Add to this a whole bunch of lesser known British composers and Scandinavian composers, and you have quite a bit. I could make an official list for you or....maybe just some official posts ;-)

Tzadik said...

Hi onomatopeira. I checked the link several times and the file downloads perfectly; I don't know what issue you might be having? Lopes-Graça did much musically for his country, no doubt about it. But that's not what I was taking into account. Like Bartok for instance, Lopes-Graça was also passionate about collecting local folk music and did a lot of this; indeed his music often reflects it. I love Bartok for his originality and the quality that is his entire output; Braga Santos was a major symphonist, as well as a composer of all kinds of works of the highest order. Lopes-Graça's music is imo good, however if one looks at his list of works,
great or somewhere in between, one finds a much less ambitious and impressive set of compositions.
I personally cannot think of one opus that has masterpiece status. But that's ok. Anyhow it's all so very subjective with music. Braga Santos's symphonic output is however too substantial & powerful to ignore. Regards

Tzadik said...

Mr -or- Ms Anon, I'll bet you first taste of the music has between very sweet!

César said...

Podría reponer el link, por favor? Muchas gracias.