Quaresma/Rosado: Freitas Branco & Franck Cello Sonatas - read my review
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Once in a great while two artists will click cosmically, their minds and shared virtuoso capabilities morphing in sweet concordance to achieve a transformative creative result. Individual temperament finds compromise willingly in such a weld, collaborative agreements on ensemble balance, color, timbre, and tempi become intuitive between the two over time. Luminous beauty and exquisite erudition are the result. Such a pairing can be heard clearly on a new CD from Portugal’s Artway label by cellist Filipe Quaresma and pianist António Rosado. Familiar to most music lovers, French composer César Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major heard on this disc in its popular arrangement for cello and piano will satisfy, most particularly for the incredible leisure with which the two artists survey this masterpiece. The other work on the CD is less familiar to most and worthy of top billing - Portuguese composer Luís de Freitas Branco’s gorgeous Sonata for Cello and Piano (1913). Magical interpretations by these two extraordinary artists distinguish this CD as one to own.
Luís de Freitas Branco (1890-1955) was an aristocrat, his family well connected for centuries with Portugal’s royal family. Highly educated, including studies in Berlin and Paris, it is the French influence that is most fragrant in his Sonata for Cello and Piano composed in 1913. The entire four-movement work is a joy to the ear from the first movement’s jazz-like solo piano opening through its several blood-stirring sturm und drang exchanges between the two protagonists. The heart and soul of the sonata is its third movement, a haunting collection of mystical soliloquys sustained like fragile dreams between the two artists in gorgeous collaboration. The moody virtuosity and dramatic imagery of the last movement brings Freitas Branco’s marvelous sonata to a thrilling close. Book it.
César Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major - the well-known arrangement by French cellist Jules Delsart – becomes an utterly unique experience for listeners in this velvety interpretation by Quaresma and Rosado. Pianist Rosado, whose playing is mesmerizing throughout, makes an electrifying yin to cellist Quaresma’s mellow, meditative yang. In tandem, they are a perfect match. Recording Engineer Jorge Simöes da Hora balances pianist and cellist beautifully throughout the Franck, which is not such an easy task considering the veracity and pluck the duo bring to the sonata. The last bars of the fourth movement can be treacherous but were fielded with a relentless focus on beauty and controlled panache by the duo; a thrilling performance as much for its restraint as its exuberance.
Recorded in Portugal’s Centro Cultural das Caldas da Rainha, the engineering on this beautiful CD is clean, the sound quality pure and perfectly balanced. Artway Producer Tiago Manuel da Hora has found in Quaresma and Rosado a blend of calm and impetuosity that redefines both masterpieces. Refreshing.
Daniel Kepl | Performing Arts Review
Cellist Filipe Quaresma
Pianist António Rosada
Composer Luís de Freitas Branco