“Lumine clarescet”, Saint-Étienne Cathedral, Toulouse
The four Latin strophes from the Prophetiae Sybillarum (also used by Roland de Lassus) inspired the Portuguese composer to write in a polyphonic (close to symphonic) manner with great beauty.

Serge Chauzy, Classic Toulouse (May 2015)
“Mares”, Quinta das Lágrimas, Coimbra
The trilogy “Mares” by António Chagas Rosa opened this space (Camões Hill, Quinta das Lágrimas, Festival das Artes, Coimbra July 29th) in an absorving way. The three parts of “Mares” were played in a row for the first time and they revealed an extremely dynamic work, filled with a kind of subtil humor on one hand, and a moving lyricism on the other hand, guiding the listener through a path of permanent search of “what is happening”. “Mares” feeds on a abondance of small musical organisms, sharp contrasts, an enormous variety of instruments and their unexpected usage. New sound pictures constantly pop out from serenity.

Diana Ferreira, Público (July 2012)
“Tombeau de Marie Stuart”, Casa da Música, Oporto
“Tombeau de Marie Stuart” is his most recent creation and, according to the own Chagas Rosa’s words it is a piece which takes a step forward in the lines already present in” Moh” in regards to timbre and rhythm, as well as to the dense variation like developments (the latter so attentive to the expressionism of early 20th century models and to the ideas of Schoenberg’s klangfarbenmelodie). Excellent interpretation of the work by Klangforum Wien. Still being almost impossible to highlight a musician of this ensemble, I have to refer to its string section and their drummers, in this interpretation truly extraordinary. Chagas Rosa confirmed me his satisfaction with this version, claiming to have lived a true interpretative miracle, only possible through the enormous understanding of both the conductor Sylvain Cambreling and the Austrian ensemble not only for his music, but also for the imagination that runs in the background of the score.

Paco Iañez, Mundoclasico.com (December 2007)
“Les Sorcières”, Théâtre Les Bernardines, Marseilles
The poem, by Maria Teresa Horta, introduces us to a sensual world of troubled erotism, made of witchcraft and darkness. Maria Teresa Horta is a well-known militant for the women’s rights under Salazar’s regime and remains still very much engaged in this fight. The tale symbolically recalls the persecutions that tormented the sorceresses. António Chagas Rosa’s music requires a percussion player, one harpist, one hornist and one trombonist. The chamber choir of Musicatreize is divided in two groups: the men (personifying the cruel Inquisitors) and the women, the provocative sorceresses. This tale, which is sung in Portuguese, is, for the least, puzzling. The first impression is intriguing, certainly due to the difficulties posed by the text. But the second part is enrapturing. It is like a Sabbath scene, totally conducted by the women. From the superb Aria of the Sorceress (sung by the admirable soprano Elise Deuve) until the breathtaking call for Belzebuth and his appearance, one is taken in a single breath, terrified and enchanted at the same time.

Jérémie Szpierglas, Le Monde de la Musique (May 2006)
“Melodias Estranhas” (Strange Melodies), Rivoli Theater, Oporto
In António Chagas Rosa’s opera (“Melodias Estranhas/Vreemde Melodieën”) it isn’t only the right dramatic sense, isn’t neither only the accurate service to the text, but much more the way how this is achieved without damaging the musical quality. The complex polirhythmics, the motivic and melodic superpositions, the permanent polyphony of timbres, gestures, accents, curves, everything blends in a natural and fluid discourse which invites to the dramatic action itself.

Bernardo Mariano, Diário de Notícias (December2001)

(About the same performance) Chagas Rosa adopts a discourse in permanent mutation, prodigal in details and complex textures, where solo voices, chorus and instruments cross each other. But it’s in moments when music becomes thinner that a higher degree of expressivity is achieved. A well balanced leading of events determine an efficient dramatic progression, which reaches its peak at the end of the work.

Cristina Fernandes, O Público

Melodias Estranhas” is, in short, the best Portuguese opera since “Mérope” (1962) by Joly Braga Santos. I enjoyed watching Queen Beatrix applauding enthusiastically at the end. Even for royalty, contemporary opera can be more attractive than the traditional repertoire.

Jorge Calado, Expresso
“Piano Concerto”, Camões Theater, Lisbon
In the first part of the program we heard the magnificent Piano Concerto, “The Ascent of Icarus”, by Chagas Rosa (premiered in Macau in 1996). This piece demonstrates that the composer arrived to a level of maturity where from he can control the structure of his discourse and grasp the audience’s attention. The power of the work - in which the composer nurtures an intelligent dialog with tradition and restores the whole splendor of piano virtuosity and concertante writing – was displayed in the solid, brilliant and enthusiastic interpretation of the Italian soloist Marino Formenti, and under the meticulous direction of José Encinar.

Teresa Cascudo, O Público (November 1999)

From the program notes of the same concert:
It is possible to trace some Dutch post-modernistic influence in the sound treatment of “The Ascent of Icarus”, reminding not only De Vries’s works but also Andriessen’s, although Chagas Rosa’s music has nothing to do with the latter structures. And if the brilliant yet refined orchestral writing might suggest composers such as Ligeti or Xenakis, this music possesses a strong individual personality.

Ivan Moody
“Megasandesham”, 28.IX.99 – Town Hall of Matosinhos, Oporto
From Chagas Rosa we heard a work of complicated title, “Megasandesham”, but with a broad and well set up design. In spite of some romantic glimpses – touching a generous and expressive instrumental writing, which players are longing for nowadays – the piece gives us a clever combination of old and modern techniques. It comes, for this reason, by no surprise that this piece Illustrated the best the virtuosity of the players in the whole concert.

Fernando Lapa, O Público (December 1999)
“Piano Sonata”, “Angkor”, “Songs of the Beginning” and “Sept Épigrammes de Platon”, São Carlos National Theater, Lisbon
If, in general, the option for an atonality of post-romantic bread seem disputable to me, this language shows itself in Chagas Rosa’s music with unmistakable sincerity, far from being another post-modern reference. The somewhat berguian gesture, present at his op. 1 (“Piano Sonata”), is the more curious for the fact that the composer places Anton Webern and his free atonal works among his musical preferences – a paradigma for extreme restraint of expressive means. In “Angkor”, a suite for viola and piano, expression gives way to an imaginary folklore, exceptionally secure in its instrumental treatment. Although this register not always touched me personally, it is clear to me that, beyond the surface of expressive gestures, one can grasp a personality which is full of originality, which will possibly break through in a different context.
Such promise was totally fulfilled in the little jewel that is the song cycle “Songs of the Beginning”, for soprano and piano. Chagas Rosa clearly intends to solve an impossible problem: to blend epigrammatic form with cyclical construction. If in “Sept Épigrammes de Platon” the success of such enterprise seems partial to me, in “Songs of the Beginning” such defy is totally achieved. Several verses of Lao-Tze are submitted to a process of fragmentation which densely corresponds to the very chance like character of the taoistic thinking. In this work, the atoms of expression open the way to a profound and original dimension, due to their rearrangement in a discoursive whole where “the simplest nature seems changeable”, so to quote one of the Chinese master’s thoughts.
If it is possible to withdraw a lesson from this retrospective of Chagas Rosa’s works, I’d say that, even when some gestures are problematic, the unconditional fidelity of an artist to his inner universe is sincerely rewarding. It pleases me to verify that the output of a composer who so frequently admits he likes to be surprised, may equally be pleasantly surprising.

Vergílio Melo, O Público (February 1998)
“Moh”, Wien Modern, Mozart Saal, Vienna
"Moh" is an intense and powerful work: with severe blows, the composer undoes the brittle sound of the piece’s surface, granting your ear only a few moments of rest.

O.L. Neue Kronen Zeitung (November 1998)

"Vision of the breath of life", thus the Portuguese composer António Chagas Rosa (1960) defines the orchestral opus composed later this year "Moh". Indeed, the dynamic eruptions resemble a respiratory movement with always different sound results. The compact sound of the introduction broadens itself steadily through rhythmically structured lines, without any loss of the dynamism of the opening.

Walter Dobner, Die Presse

António Chagas Rosa presented with "Moh", for chamber orchestra, a rich universe into four parts made of small spaces but violent in contrasts, gestures and pulsations, in which an approximation to the medium film if present.

Der Standard

Klangforum treated the pulsing thumbnails of the Portuguese composer with precision.

Reiner Estner, Wiener Zeitung

If it is possible to withdraw a lesson from this retrospective of Chagas Rosa’s works, I’d say that, even when some gestures are problematic, the unconditional fidelity of an artist to his inner universe is sincerely rewarding. It pleases me to verify that the output of a composer who so frequently admits he likes to be surprised, may equally be pleasantly surprising.

Vergílio Melo, O Público (February 1998)

António Chagas Rosa

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