Artists: Jed Barahal, Christina Margotto
Composers: Luís de Freitas Branco, Fernando Lopes-Graça
“Luís de Freitas Branco’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, composed in 1913, after his studies in Berlin, reveals the composer’s naturally classical tendencies and exemplifies his use of cyclical composition techniques associated with the aesthetics of César Franck. In the unanimous opinion of musicologists and critics alike, it is one of the most remarkable works in the Portuguese chamber repertoire and, for this reason, a rare example of world-class Portuguese music.
Nowadays, however, a work achieves international recognition only if it has been successfully recorded by more than a few artists.
Apart from its intrinsic value, a musical score’s interpretation by several performers with different cultural backgrounds, and in diverse circumstances, is what will eventually reveal a work in all its dimensions, including the ones that the composer himself may have been unaware of. That is why LFB chose to grant performers the greatest possible freedom of interpretation.
It is to exactly this degree that a competent and talented performer presents himself as a co-author or co-creator of a work that is only capable of fulfilling its potential through him. The true greatness of a musical composition may remain obscure or never fully develop without the existence of a diversity of interpretations. This means that it is essential to make known new interpretations by performers of as many different nationalities as possible.
For Portuguese music to get this kind of publicity, it is important, if not indispensable, that instrumentalists of other nationalities take an interest in a work and play it regularly. Just imagine what Mozart’s Jupiter symphony would have been if during the last 200 years it had been performed by one or two Austrian orchestras and a handful of their conductors. Even if the worthiness of a score is undeniably the first requirement for its acceptance by the public, it is still not the only requirement. The existence of what I have called a “diversity of interpretations” is an extraordinarily relevant factor in our high-tech consumer society.
I was fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of hearing a wonderfully stirring live performance of this sonata – the best of all I have had the opportunity to hear in person – by the American cellist Jed Barahal and the Brazilian pianist Christina Margotto in a concert that was part of a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of LFB’s death. From now on, the public will be able to hear this remarkable interpretation by Jed Barahal and Christina Margotto. We owe our thanks for this project, first of all, to the dedication and artistic enthusiasm of two foreigners who, so much the better for us, have chosen to live in Portugal. Someone else, however, is also responsible for this CD’s existence: I am referring to my dear friend Maestro José Atalaya. This recording is the treasured fruit of the infinite love of a student for his departed master, as well as the result of a sustained and noble effort carried out over several decades by Maestro Atalaya in support of performing artists. It is the consequence of something as rare as it is beautiful: the dual acknowledgment of a gift from the past and of the present. Let us hope now that musical audiences will enjoy them both.”
João Maria de Freitas Branco