October Newsletter

Published: October 1, 2017

26 Years of Great Music



To all Amigos/as

From Helga Hampton

                NEWSLETTER                        October 1, 2017


Dear Amigos,


We started our 2017/18 season with a bang! Who would have ever thought that the unusual pairing of a flute and a guitar could inspire so much passion and delight as the Swedish “Haga Duo” presented us with in September. And I am so glad that so many music lovers – quasi two full-house audiences – were able to partake and enjoy.


The magnificent late summer on the glorious terraces of Os Agostos was background of the best reception, which even the dreary business of the preceding Annual General Meeting benefited from. More than a third of the membership attended and thus I was able to directly communicate some of the new developments within our programme.

1.     We decided to add the month of February to our annual concert months, bringing the total number of subscription concerts from 16 to 18. The dates for February 2018 are already fixed – Tuesday, February 20th and Thursday, February 22nd, 2018. I am now working on the programme.

2.     We shall offer active members organised musical trips mainly within the Iberian world, starting with Lisbon, Oporto, Marvão, Sevilla and Valencia, for example.

3.     Upon popular suggestion and demand we shall reinstitute Amigo dinners in selected restaurants, whenever possible with musical entertainment.


I was able to thank the Amigos present for rejoining our “club”, and in many cases for making generous donations in addition to their subs. I also thanked those Amigos who offered either accommodation or hospitality to our artists during the past year, and I mentioned the greatly increased sponsorship by QP Savills for the coming year.

The AGM business also resulted in confirming Amiga Margaret Jackson as Vice-President on the Executive Committee, and Amigos Anneli Lindroos, Helen Hancke and Gonçalo Couçeiro will form the new Fiscal Council.


If you are interested in receiving a copy of the AGM Minutes (in English) please contact me.


At the end of the AGM, the assembled Amigos had the opportunity to meet and appraise the new protégé within our Young Portuguese Musician Sponsorship programme. Tiago Rosario from Beja, b. 1997, is in his last year of advanced piano studies at the Escola Superior de Musica e Artes in Porto, and he played a sonata by Cesar Franck which left us all speechless. Here is a young man with really obvious talent, and I hope you share with me the pleasure of offering him assistance – limited financial and passionate practical – for his further studies in Europe. I look forward to following this young musician´s career.





Now to our October concerts:

I am excited to be able to present the pianist Joana Gama. She is a shining light among the young generation of Portuguese musicians and she has taken it upon herself to bring certain aspects of Portuguese music to the attention of the public. In her PhD thesis she concentrated on evocative music in elements of Portuguese culture. The programme she will play for us in her two evening performances reflects this penchant, especially on the first evening,


Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


She will be playing Fernando Lopes-Graça TRAVELS IN MY HOMELAND – Nineteen pieces for piano on traditional Portuguese melodies and she provides some interesting programme notes:

  • In each of the movements of the cycle Travels in My Homeland we find references to places, circumstances or traditions of several Portuguese districts, a sort of compilation of the ethnographic tours that he made through the country. With melodies from traditional Portuguese music, this work is guided by an immense directness, sometimes almost rude, in the musical discourse.


Next on her programme is a quite different approach by Amílcar Vasques-Dias in its relationship with Portugal and with the piano.

  • In Lume de Chão, in a poetic and nostalgic atmosphere, Vasques-Dias, born in the North (Minho) and currently living in the South (Alentejo), transports to the music his impressions, memories and influences of his childhood and his life in the Alentejo countryside. “Fabric of memories and affections”, the subtitle of this cycle, seeks to make the link between the “Lume de chão” of Alentejo and the “fireplace” of Minho.

This concert results thus in another poetic-ethnographic tour around Portugal, inspired by the phrase quoted by Saramago in his book Blindness: “If you can look, see. If you can see, observe.”


Thursday, October 12th, 2017

In her second recital, Joana presents the music of the Catalan composer Federico Mompou along with intimate works by Erik Satie and John Cage.

  • Three composers who, in a very personal way, explored the idea of silence and quietness in their works. The experiences Cage made with silence are well known, and we can imagine Satie in silence observing the ogives of the Notre-Dame Cathedral that inspired him to write the work presented in the first part of this recital. The difference and radicalness of Mompou’s music are elegant and discreet, though without any dissimulation. “My only desire is to write works that do not lack anything and nothing is superfluous.” The composer always tried to distill the essential to get to the music in pure form. The expression musica callada comes from the poem Canciones entre el alma y el Esposo / Songs between the soul and the Spouse by the mystical poet São João da Cruz: “la música callada, la soledad sonora”. According to the composer, it was a question of “expressing the idea of music as the sound of silence”.


I hope I whetted your appetite and inspired you to make your reservations soon and as usual with Cristina: reservasconcertos@gmail.com


BTW: I am happy to greet 67 rejoined active Amigos back in the fold, and welcome new Amigos Stefanie Kreutzer and Olga and Keith Inman. Bem vindo !!!




Helga Hampton

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