Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

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0120121231

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) remains one of the most popular - and controversial - Italian composers of the 20th century: a man caught in time between the high Romantic drama of his predecessors Verdi and Puccini, and the Futurism and avant-garde musical experiments of his later compatriots Dallapiccola, Berio and Scelsi.

Respighi chose a different route - his work often infused with the music of a halcyon past. Many of Respighi's work look back to the Italian Baroque - some even to Gregorian chant. Yet they remain charmingly, distinctively blended with his own 20th-century musical language. Respighi's "Roman Trilogy" - comprising the colourful orchestral pieces "Fountains of Rome", "Pines Of Rome" and "Roman Festivals" - are amongst the most-performed concert showpieces of the last 100 years, and notoriously were among Benito Mussolini most cherished pieces of music. Yet his other works are largely unknown to the general public.

This week Donald Macleod - like Respighi - takes a path less trodden as he presents a series of lesser-known masterpieces from the pen of this Italian master.

In the first programme of the week, he explores Respighi's rise to fame in the first decade of the 20th century, and his relationship with his lifelong muse, his wife Elsa.

0120121231

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) remains one of the most popular - and controversial - Italian composers of the 20th century: a man caught in time between the high Romantic drama of his predecessors Verdi and Puccini, and the Futurism and avant-garde musical experiments of his later compatriots Dallapiccola, Berio and Scelsi.

Respighi chose a different route - his work often infused with the music of a halcyon past. Many of Respighi's work look back to the Italian Baroque - some even to Gregorian chant. Yet they remain charmingly, distinctively blended with his own 20th-century musical language. Respighi's "Roman Trilogy" - comprising the colourful orchestral pieces "Fountains of Rome", "Pines Of Rome" and "Roman Festivals" - are amongst the most-performed concert showpieces of the last 100 years, and notoriously were among Benito Mussolini most cherished pieces of music. Yet his other works are largely unknown to the general public.

This week Donald Macleod - like Respighi - takes a path less trodden as he presents a series of lesser-known masterpieces from the pen of this Italian master.

In the first programme of the week, he explores Respighi's rise to fame in the first decade of the 20th century, and his relationship with his lifelong muse, his wife Elsa.

01A Thumbnail Sketch20070903

Donald Macleod begins his profile of one of Italy's most controversial composers by exploring Respighi's colourful and sometimes contradictory passions, including fine art, fairy tale, grand opera and antiquity.

Berceuse for violin and piano

Marcia Crayford (violin)

Diana Ambache (piano)

Semirama (Act 1 excerpt)

Semirama....Eva Marton (soprano)

Susiana....Veronika Kincses (soprano)

Hungarian Radio and TV Chorus

Hungarian State Orchestra

Lamberto Gardelli (conductor)

Passo mezzo e mascherada (Antiche danze ed arie Suite 1)

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

La Pentola Magica (excerpts)

BBC Philharmonic

Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)

Trittico Botticelliano

Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Neville Marriner (conductor).

0220130102

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's dark days during the First World War, and his love of pastiche - including his delightful "Boutique Fantasque", based on the music of Rossini.

0220130102

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's dark days during the First World War, and his love of pastiche - including his delightful "Boutique Fantasque", based on the music of Rossini.

02In Perfect Unison20070904

Without the influence of a pupil who would later become his wife, Respighi might well have come off the rails. Donald Macleod evaluates the impact of Elsa Respighi on her husband's music.

Prelude No 1 on Gregorian Melodies

Sergei Babayan (piano)

The Matins of St Claire; St Michael the Archangel (Church Windows)

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Jesus Lopez-Cobos (conductor)

La Sera

Faridah Subrata (mezzo-soprano)

Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

Adriano (conductor)

Ballad of the Gnomes

Philharmonia Orchestra

Geoffrey Simon (conductor)

Poema Autunnale

Pierre Amoyal (violin)

Orchestre National de France

Charles Dutoit (conductor).

02In Perfect Unison20070904

Without the influence of a pupil who would later become his wife, Respighi might well have come off the rails. Donald Macleod evaluates the impact of Elsa Respighi on her husband's music.

Prelude No 1 on Gregorian Melodies

Sergei Babayan (piano)

The Matins of St Claire; St Michael the Archangel (Church Windows)

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Jesus Lopez-Cobos (conductor)

La Sera

Faridah Subrata (mezzo-soprano)

Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

Adriano (conductor)

Ballad of the Gnomes

Philharmonia Orchestra

Geoffrey Simon (conductor)

Poema Autunnale

Pierre Amoyal (violin)

Orchestre National de France

Charles Dutoit (conductor).

0320130103

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's life and work in the 1920s, including his Botticelli Triptych.

0320130103

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's life and work in the 1920s, including his Botticelli Triptych.

03Friends, Romans, Countrymen20070905

Donald Macleod charts Respighi's complex relationships with his musical colleagues, critics, and the people of Rome, whose city he depicted in his most famous works.

Belfagor Overture

BBC Philharmonic

Edward Downes (conductor)

Lamento d'Arianna

Burjana Antonova (mezzo-soprano)

Sofia Chamber Orchestra

Emil Tabakov (conductor)

Feste Romane

Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra

Lorin Maazel (conductor)

Canzone Sarda

Tiziana Cisternino (soprano)

Massimo Palumbo (piano).

04On Tour20070906

Despite an awkward run-in with a ravenous press pack, Respighi's transatlantic tours did much to bolster his reputation. Donald Macleod explores his travels and the music which they helped to inspire.

Concerto in Modo Misolidio (3rd mvt)

Geoffrey Tozer (piano)

BBC Philharmonic

Edward Downes (conductor)

Maria Egiziaca (excerpts)

Maria....Veronika Kincses (soprano)

Voice of the Angel....Katalin Farkas (soprano)

Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus

Hungarian State Orchestra

Lamberto Gardelli (conductor)

Tropical Night (Brazilian Impressions)

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Jesus Lopez-Cobos (conductor)

Passacaglia and Fugue (after Bach)

Leonard Slatkin (conductor).

04On Tour20070906

Despite an awkward run-in with a ravenous press pack, Respighi's transatlantic tours did much to bolster his reputation. Donald Macleod explores his travels and the music which they helped to inspire.

Concerto in Modo Misolidio (3rd mvt)

Geoffrey Tozer (piano)

BBC Philharmonic

Edward Downes (conductor)

Maria Egiziaca (excerpts)

Maria....Veronika Kincses (soprano)

Voice of the Angel....Katalin Farkas (soprano)

Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus

Hungarian State Orchestra

Lamberto Gardelli (conductor)

Tropical Night (Brazilian Impressions)

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Jesus Lopez-Cobos (conductor)

Passacaglia and Fugue (after Bach)

BBC Philharmonic

Leonard Slatkin (conductor).

04 LAST20130104

A trip to the tobacconist...via Brazil - as Donald Macleod explores Respighi's last years.

04 LAST20130104

A trip to the tobacconist...via Brazil - as Donald Macleod explores Respighi's last years.

05 LAST20070907

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's final years, including a stroll amongst the pines of Rome as depicted by one of the composer's greatest musical legacies.

Orgiastic Dance (Belkis, Regina di Saba)

Philharmonia Orchestra

Geoffrey Simon (conductor)

Il Tramonto

Magdalena Kozena (soprano)

Henschel Quartet

Notturno

Sergei Babayan (piano)

The Pines of Rome

NBC Symphony Orchestra

Arturo Toscanini (conductor)

Stornellatrice

Elsa Respighi (soprano)

Ottorino Respighi (piano).

05 LAST20070907

Donald Macleod explores Respighi's final years, including a stroll amongst the pines of Rome as depicted by one of the composer's greatest musical legacies.

Orgiastic Dance (Belkis, Regina di Saba)

Philharmonia Orchestra

Geoffrey Simon (conductor)

Il Tramonto

Magdalena Kozena (soprano)

Henschel Quartet

Notturno

Sergei Babayan (piano)

The Pines of Rome

NBC Symphony Orchestra

Arturo Toscanini (conductor)

Stornellatrice

Elsa Respighi (soprano)

Ottorino Respighi (piano).