ANTÓNIO VICTORINO D'ALMEIDA (b.1940): Missa de São Judas Tadeu for Soprano, Double Bass, Viola, Oboe and Piano, Op. 85, Ave Maria for Soprano and Piano, Op. 5, De Profundis for Double Bass, Viola, Oboe and Piano, Op. 130 (Opus Ensemble, Elsa Saque [soprano], Olga Prats [piano]), Te Deum, Op. 55 for Soprano, Bassoon and Piano, Op. 55 (Margarida Marecos [soprano]), Vera Dias [bassoon], Olga Prats [piano].
Catalogue Number: 08M080
Reference: NUM 1194
Description: The resourceful and versatile D'Almeida wrote these sacred works, in forms commonly associated with large forces, for ideally chosen small ensembles with solo voice. This does nothing to reduce their emotional and spiritual effectiveness, and enhances their sense of intimacy. The Missa expresses the moods associated with the traditional sections of the text so completely that one easily forgets that one is listening to four instrumentalists and one voice; the work is tonal and direct of utterance. The little Ave Maria is a very early work in the style of a Romantic-era art-song. The De Profundis is an in memoriam piece for the same instrumental forces as the earlier mass, without voice. Beginning with a long, pained viola solo, the work is by turns agitated and melancholy, in a less overtly tonal vocabulary than the earlier work, though with an emphasis on eloquent melodic line throughout. The Te Deum has an intriguingly discursive quality, with the singer confidently intoning the text in lyrical lines, supported by the piano, while the bassoon contributes a sometimes disruptive counterpoint, explained by the composer as the voice of the agnostic, restless and questioning.