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COMPOSERS: Lopes-Graça
ALBUM TITLE: Lopes-Graça: Complete Works for Violin and Piano and Solo Violin
WORKS: Violin Sonatinas Nos 1 & 2; Pequeno Triptico, Op. 124; Preludio e Fuga, Op. 137; Quatro Miniaturas, Op. 218; Esponsais, Op. 230; Adagio doloroso e Fantasia, Op. 242, etc
PERFORMER: Bruno Monteiro (violin), João Paulo Santos (piano)


Prolific Portuguese composer Fernando Lopes-Graça (his output runs to well over 200 opuses) seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance on disc at the moment. For many years cellist Mstislav Rostropovich’s recording of the 1965 Concerto da Camera was one of the few of his works generally available, yet recently we have had discs of the two Piano Concertos and Symphony (both Naxos), the first volume of his complete string quartets (Toccata) and a piano recital from Artur Pizarro (Capriccio).

Now violinist Bruno Monteiro and pianist João Paulo Santos have collected together for the first time all of Lopes-Graça’s accompanied and solo violin works, including three world premiere recordings. Both are experienced recording artists and although occasionally a more fluid playing style would have enhanced the more introspective moments, they play this exuberantly inventive music with an intuitive feel for its playful unpredictability.

The two early Sonatinas, composed during the early 1930s, are neo-classical in impulse (a bracing trip around 1920s Paris via Hindemith) while the Prelúdio, Capricho and Galope (1941) mixes Ravelian fastidiousness with (in the finale) Milhaud slapstick. The composer’s sophisticated sense of musical humour can also be savoured in the Prelúdio e Fuga for solo violin (1960), especially the Fugue which is ingeniously based on a repeated note. Most haunting of all is the Adágio doloroso e Fantasia of 1988, which reveals a creative facility of considerable depth.


Julian Haylock