Buy CD from Amazon
OTTORINO RESPIGHI - Roman Trilogy - John Neschling (Conductor) - Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra - Hybrid Super Audio CD - 7318599917207 - Released: October 2010 -

Everyone agrees that the Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome and Roman Festivals , bold and expressive Symphonic Poems written by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936), are full of aural delights and even include moments of pure sonic splendour, as in the last movement of the Pines of Rome. So much so, that many conductors have approached these works only from one angle, and performed these musical gems strictly as crowd-pleasers and orchestral fireworks, completely ignoring the finer inner musical details that make these colorful works the masterpieces that they are. Let me assure you that this is not the case with this recording.

Conductor John Neschling delves deep to expose all the detailed musical ideas that come together to make these pieces some of the best examples of great orchestration and musical imagination combined. Take for example the Pine Trees near a Catacomb movement of the Pines of Rome. Nothing quite exemplifies the sense of eternal time and darkness at the passing of life evoked in this work, and Neschling takes the time and care to bring that emotion forward. The same applies to the next segment, the Pine Trees of the Janiculum. Finer orchestration skills weaved around the depiction of cool night air, bird calls, and inner peace, would be hard to find anywhere else in music, and it is well put accross in this recording. The clash of Gregorian chant and violent terror at the beginning of the Roman Festivals, portraying in music the slaughter of Christians by lions in Ancient Rome. The path the music takes to convey 2000 years of Roman history, leading to the depiction of a modern day festival where, even within the orgiastic frenzied rhythms at the end, Neschling still manages to capture all of the finer orchestral details that create this whirlwind of sound.

And don't worry. When it's called for, there is plenty of sonic muscle. From the first entry of the brass instruments at the 1:48 mark of the Pine Trees of the Appian Way, depicting a consular army marching proudly towards the Capitol, you will witness one of the longest and best achieved crescendos in music, that in this recording will leave you breathless and yelling "Hail Respighi".

Jean-Yves Duperron - November 2010