Interview With Luís Costa About the Album Musíadas 1.0
An Album Dedicated to Music by Portuguese Composers

Luís Costa/Rui Pinheiro/Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras – Musíadas 1.0

Can you name a few works written by Portuguese composers? Portuguese pianist Luís Costa recently collaborated with Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras under the baton of Rui Pinheiro and released an album featuring rarely played works written by Luiz Costa, Cláudio Carneyro, and Anne Vitorino D’Almeida. In this interview, Luís Costa is going to introduce us to them and their works.

The album features works written by lesser-known or forgotten Portuguese composers. What inspired this project? Did you know the composers and their works before you got involved in the project?

Portugese pianist Luís Costa

Luís Costa

The main inspiration was to explore the repertoire for piano and orchestra from Portuguese Music, a universe that includes more than twenty composers who wrote for the genre. Some Portuguese composers like Vianna da Motta, Alfredo Napoleão, Luiz de Freitas Branco, and João Domingos Bomtempo have gained some recognition, and their works have been recorded, although they still deserve more attention. However, there are many more Portuguese composers to discover and explore. So, in this album, we travel through the music of Luiz Costa (1879-1960), Cláudio Carneiro (1895-1963), and Anne Victorino D’almeida (1978-). To answer your questions, I believe that the composers in question are not forgotten, as they are generally known within the music and cultural scene. However, I do think that their music is forgotten, which is a different matter. The pieces of music we recorded were rarely played, and we started from the manuscript, so it was a joy and a pure experience to do it. Our main intention was to provide a testimonial of those pieces and perhaps increase the possibility that they will be performed more often.

The album features works by Luiz Costa, Cláudio Carneyro, and Anne Vitorino D’Almeida. Can you tell us a little about each of them and their compositions?


The 3 of them, in fact, deserve more time to explain their life and work. Very briefly, I can say that Luiz Costa was a pianist and composer who studied in Germany with Busoni and Vianna da Motta, among others, following the legacy of Liszt’s school. As a composer, I would say he integrated influences from French impressionism into his very personal language very well. I would describe his music as elegant and crystalline, perfectly combining simplicity and expressivity with a strong sense of nature, always trying to represent elements from his homeland. It is important to say as the president of Orpheon Portuense, he was responsible for bringing to Portugal some of the greatest names in classical music, such as Ravel, Arrau, Backhaus, Landowska, and Fischer, among many others composer.

Cláudio Carneyro was a violinist and composer, son of a famous Portuguese painter, António Carneiro. He studied in Paris under the guidance of Charles Widor and Paul Dukas. In Paris, his work caught the attention of Gabriel Pierné, who included his music in the famous concerts of the Colonne Orchestra. With the support of the government, Cláudio Carneiro was often in the United States, where he would return to at the end of his life, maintaining his contacts with Charles Munch, Aaron Copland, and Darius Milhaud. In his music, one can feel the influence of French music from the 20s to the 30s, and there is a very strong presence of melodic and rhythmic elements from Portuguese folk music. His music is dense, sometimes “intricate,” but always fluent and full of textures. Anne Vitorino D’Almeida is a violinist and one of the most important composers nowadays in Portugal, the daughter of the composer António Vitorino D’Almeida. She has already a very extensive production that reaches a very diverse kind of instrumentation. Specifically, the Piano Concerto present in this album is a wonderful piece. It’s pure ecstasy on stage, never predictable, with new elements coming every moment that captivate the audience’s attention every instant. I strongly recommend looking for more music from those three composers. It is a worthy journey!!

Luiz Costa- Roda o Vento nas Searas

You played with the Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras on the album. How was your experience working with them?

Portugese pianist Luís Costa

It was not the first time we played together, but the first time we recorded. It was a week of joy to work with their unbeatable dedication. To prepare for recording, we did only 3 rehearsals and one concert, so the schedule was very tight. Working with works still on the manuscript (the case of Costa and Carneyro) that you don’t have even a piano reduction or a recording was different and yet rewarding situation. You have no other chance but to dive purely into the music; it’s like returning to the roots. Of course, I have to mention the conductor Rui Pinheiro, with whom we did previous preparation, on revising all the scores and taking options over the several versions of the manuscripts. Rui was perfect also in organizing the sessions and always putting every musician with a focus in every moment, but without losing expressivity and spontaneity. It was a great team to work with Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras and Rui Pinheiro, and I believe we will be doing it again.

Is this album the first volume of the project ‘re-introducing’ the great compositions written by the forgotten Portuguese composers? Is there a second volume coming soon?

Yes, it intends to be. We would like to pass all the Portuguese Repertoire for the genre (Piano and Orchestra). It’s a massive proposal; let’s see how far it will be possible to go. At least a 2nd volume is being planned. Surprises for the future!

Do you have any projects/performances that are coming up?

I will play in Macau on the 4th of April solo concert, and then I play in Oporto with my brother, Fernando Costa (cellist). We haven’t been playing so much lately, so we are happy to be coming back. Then, following my latest experiences with jazz and composition, later in July, I will present a concert called “From Childhood and Beyond”, based on Scenes from Childhood by R. Schumann, where the original solo piano music shares the stage with a trio (bass and drums) deconstruction it. It will be quite an experience. Let’s see what happens.

What do you like to do in your spare time if you are not performing or playing the piano?

Well, let’s say the opposite; in my spare time, I play piano; in the rest, I do the indispensable things of life, a haha 😊 The ones that give inspiration for playing…

The album Musíadas 1.0 is now available on all major streaming platforms under Ava Musical Editions. Learn more about Luís Costa.

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