CLAUDIO SANTORO (1919-1989): Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 7 “Brasília”.
Catalogue Number: 03X001
Description: Santoro was one of Brazil’s most eminent and influential composers. Over a 50-year period, he wrote a cycle of 14 symphonies that is widely acclaimed as the most significant cycle of its kind ever written in Brazil. In the late 1940s Santoro’s music took a radical turn, as a result of his political-ideological convictions and his role as the Brazilian delegate to the 1948 Prague Congress of Progressive Composers, whose final manifesto urged composers to avoid excessive subjectivity and look to their national folk traditions for inspiration. The two selected works in this inaugural volume of the first complete recording of his symphonies focus on the 1950s, a period when Santoro sought a more direct and communicative idiom using Brazilian elements. His use of folk-based material is nonetheless highly creative, sometimes indeed abstract, as in key moments of the Fifth (1955) where the Lydian-Mixolydian mode suggests the traditional music of northeastern Brazil in the opening movement while the Afro-Brazilian Xangô chant underlies the finale. The Seventh, from 1959-60, is one of his most complex and intense works, a celebration of his country’s new capital Brasília in music of striking modernity. One of Santoto’s longest and most complex symphonies, it is also possible the most richly orchestrated and its finale represents a break with the past and a new, harder-edged, less folk-influenced late style. Collectors with a long memory may remember that we offered a BIS recording of the Fourth and Ninth Symphonies way back in 2006 (06H011). Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra; Neil Thomson.