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These will become reference performances

O Publico, Teresa Cascudo

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Deux-Elles is a recently new label that has released ancient and contemporary music, performed by British musicians. In theory, it could be one more interesting company project of parallel [alternative] character that have been created somehow worldwide during the last years and for which the international distribution, for most of these, is mainly accessible to the music lovers familiarized with the internet. Still, the contact between The Galliard Ensemble and the Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco, at the Royal Academy of Music, in London, was the trigger that, some decade later made these recordings possible. The three are fully dedicated to the work of 14 Portuguese composers, therefore giving a broad view of the recent Portuguese creative panorama.

The performances – by The Galliard Ensemble, the Royal Scottish Academy Brass and by the Portuguese percussionist Pedro Carneiro – are remarkable, now and then reaching the excellency and, technically speaking, the recording quality is beyond criticism.
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It is the above mentioned meeting between Luis Tinoco and The Galliard Ensemble that explains the commitment of this ensemble towards the performance of the Portuguese authors’ music. On their previous CDs – recorded for Meridian and for Deux-Elles – they included works by Luis Tinoco and Eurico Carrapatoso. Now, for this third CD, they have chosen a collection of nine works written by the two mentioned composers and, also, by Joly Braga Santos, Fernando Lopes-Graça, António Pinho Vargas, Alexandre Delgado and Sérgio Azevedo. The selection was made by the ensemble, that follows the same path of their previous CD, with which they achieved a considerable reviewing success.
With “Light – Distance”, the title for one of the works by Tinoco, The Galliard Ensemble show the same preference for works in various brief movements and, mostly, the same ability to create fascinating sound-worlds in miniature. Technically they are precise and imaginative, therefore showing two of the principal qualities on which good performances are based [sustained].

After listening to their recordings, there can only remain very few doubts that these will become reference performances.

The “Sete Lembranças para Vieira da Silva”, by Lopes-Graça, works as the anchor of the lineup chosen by the Galliard. Written in the mid 60’s, it reveals a singular voice full with emotion and marvelously understood and revived by the Galliard. The performance of this piece in particular shows how urgent it is to revise [rethink], as a whole, the musical legacy of this composer, which its public side, sometimes, almost shadows the enormous richness of his creative universe.

The works of Joly Braga Santos and of his student Alexandre Delgado are full with life and reveal an intelligent exploring of the idiomatic possibilities of the scored instruments. “Aspetto”, by Sergio Azevedo, shows a more abstract trend of the composing in Portugal, as for the “Cinco Miniaturas”, by Eurico Carrapatoso, show a delicious lightness. Finally, the CD includes three works written by Luis Tinoco for wind quintet: “Autumn Wind” (1998), “Light-Distance” (2000) and “O curso das águas” (2001). It is fascinating to compare the distance between the first and the two last works, showing the progressive solidity of his writing and the consistency of his poetic references, elements that are making his musical personality as less and less indistinctive.

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19/09/2020