Braga Santos: Symphony No 2 / Cassuto, Bournemouth So

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Joly Braga Santos' Second Symphony, at 48 minutes, has all of the urgency and ambition of a young man's enthusiastic revelry in writing for a really large orchestra. The composer was all of 23 when he wrote it, and early or not, the piece sustains its length with little apparent effort. As usual in the first four symphonies, the influences of Vaughan Williams and Respighi aren't too far away, but that's all they are. There's no mistaking a tremendous individual talent at work here. Just listen to the gorgeous slow movement--melodically distinctive and magnificently scored (the evocative coda features a mysterious timpani duet under ethereal strings). Even the finale, a highly sectional amalgam of slow introduction, allegro, fugue, and slow epilogue leading to a grandiose conclusion, hangs together remarkably well, borne on the wings of the composer's unflagging inspiration.

The coupling, a short ballet entitled Crossroads, takes Portuguese folk music as its source of inspiration, but belongs to the composer's later, spikier period. Marvelously scored for chamber orchestra, Santos' use of folk melodies and rhythms shows the same sort of naturalness and ease typical of Bartók in, say, the Dance Suite. In other words, the music's roots don't compromise its modernity. As with all the discs in this remarkable series, the composer's friend and colleague Alvaro Cassuto leads performances of great warmth, intensity, and color. He captures the quiet intimacy of the symphony's pastoral third movement as well as the epic bigness of vision of its climaxes. Under his baton, the Bournemouth Symphony plays with tremendous conviction and confidence, and the recorded sound is terrific. Don't miss this one!
--David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8225216

  • UPC: 636943521625

  • Label: Marco Polo

  • Composer: Joly Braga Santos

  • Conductor: Alvaro Cassuto

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra


  1. Symphony no 2 in B minor, Op. 13

    Composer: Joly Braga Santos

    Ensemble: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Alvaro Cassuto

  2. Encruzilhada

    Composer: Joly Braga Santos

    Ensemble: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Alvaro Cassuto