ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
OTTORINO RESPIGHI


OTTORINO RESPIGHI - PINES OF ROME - FOUNTAINS OF ROME - ROMAN FESTIVALS - RICCARDO MUTI (Conductor) - PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA - BRILLIANT 7565

Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer and conductor who lived from 1879 to 1936. One of his composition teachers was Rimsky-Korsakov, which explains why he was a wizard at orchestration. His writing is always pictoresque, not only in the sense of portraying a place or mood, but also a long gone era. His Roman Trilogy is not only about trees and monuments, but also about the Roman spirit and existence through centuries. One of Respighi's interests was the study of Renaissance music, and he uses this knowledge well in his applications of plain-chant or renaissance harmonies to re-create epic roman times.

This recording by Riccardo Muti, released in 1984 on EMI and now re-issued on Brilliant, displays all the qualities within the score perfectly. The stoic darkness near the catacombs, the birds fluttering and singing near a fountain at sunset, an epic consular army marching in triumph towards the Capitol, Christians being thrown to the lions, pilgrims witnessing a spectacular vision upon arrival to the Holy City, the list goes on and on of great moments when the music carries you to a distant time in Roman history. The recorded sound is spectacular and the Philadelphians never played and sounded better.

This double cd budget re-issue also has two other Respighi gems. The 3 Botticelli Pictures, and the Ancient Airs and Dances, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.

Jean-Yves Duperron