A Russian way of depicting true Portuguese traditions? Alentejo Suite No. 1 by Luis de Freitas Branco and its connections with intergalisimo lusitano

Isabel Pina


Luís de Freitas Branco is one of the most recognized Portuguese composers of the 20th century. During his life his name often appeared in national and international press on multiple occasions of premières and other presentations of his work. Posthumously, his life and work has been central to Portuguese musicology. However, some dimensions of his life have been hidden or not sufficiently covered, such as his connections with Integralismo Lusitano, a nationalist pro-monarchy political movement. Recently, this movement, created after the Proclamation of the Republic by politically disaffected university students, has been gaining more interest by experts in musicology, and it is often mentioned as one of the main influences on the ideology of Estado Novo due to its nationalism, regionalism, traditionalism, highly hierarchical idealization of  society, and anti-democratic stance. In the 1910s Luís de Freitas Branco was highly committed to this group, participating in propaganda conferences, writing critical reviews and chronicles in journals and newspapers of the movement, and composing orchestral works to praise its values. Amongst them, we can mention a symphonic poem based on a historical figure who supposedly contributed to the foundation of the Portuguese sovereignty, soloist concertos inspired by folklore, and Alentejo Suite No. 1 composed in 1919 with regionalist intentions: it depicted a specific Portuguese region in the South of the country, where the composer and some of the intellectuals related to Integralismo Lusitano had rural properties. Curiously, the flatlands of Alentejo were depicted resorting to the topics used by Borodin to musically describe the Russian steppe, intertwined with references to Korsakov. Thus, wandering through the composer’s political and aesthetical intentions, this article intends to explore the connections of  Luís de Freitas Branco with the pro-monarchy movement, highlighting some elements of one of his most iconic works of this period, Alentejo Suite No. 1.

Keywords : Luís de Freitas Branco, Integralismo Lusitano, Alentejo Suite No. 1, intertextuality, musical analysis, ideology, political propaganda

For citation: Pina I. A Russian Way of Depicting True Portuguese Traditions? Alentejo Suite No. 1 by Luis de Freitas Branco and Its Connections with Intergalisimo Lusitano [Electronic source]. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2019, No. 3, pp. 73–91. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.56620/2587-9731-2019-3-073-091


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.56620/2587-9731-2019-3-073-091

Copyright (c) 2019 Isabel Pina

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