Ottorino Respighi  
Ottorino Respighi
Ottorino Respighi, (born July 9, 1879, Bologna, Italy—died April 18, 1936, Rome), Italian composer who introduced Russian orchestral colour and some of the violence of Richard Strauss’s harmonic techniques into Italian music. He studied at the Liceo of Bologna and later with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg, where he was first violist in the Opera Orchestra. From his foreign masters Respighi acquired a command of orchestral colour and an interest in orchestral composition.

Ottorino Respighi
  A piano concerto by Respighi was performed at Bologna in 1902; a “notturno” for orchestra was played at a concert in the Metropolitan Opera House that year.

His comic opera Re Enzo and the opera Semirama brought him recognition and an appointment in 1913 to the St. Cecilia Academy in Rome as professor of composition. He became director of the conservatory in 1924 but resigned in 1926.

Respighi was drawn to the sensual, decadent climate of the Rome depicted by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, and in his celebrated suites—Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome, 1923–24) and Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome, 1914–16) especially—he sought to convey the subtlety and colour of the poet’s imagination.

Other suites include Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows, 1927); Gli uccelli (The Birds, 1927); Feste Romane (Roman Festivals, 1929); and Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych, 1927, for chamber orchestra).

Respighi was also drawn to old Italian music, which he arranged in three sets of Antique Dances and Arias (transcribed for orchestra from lute pieces).

One of his most popular scores was his arrangement of pieces by Rossini, La Boutique fantasque, produced by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London (1919). A later arrangement of Rossini piano pieces, Rossiniana (1925), also became a ballet.

As a composer of opera, Respighi had less success outside his own country. His best known works for the theatre were Belfagor, a comic opera produced at Milan in 1923, and La fiamma (Rome, 1934), which effectively transfers the gloomy Norwegian tragedy of H. Wiers Jenssen (known to English-speaking audiences in John Masefield’s version as The Witch) to Byzantine Ravenna. In a different, more subdued vein are the “mystery,” Maria Egiziaca (1932), and his posthumous Lucrezia (completed by his wife, Elsa; 1937), the latter showing Respighi’s interest in the dramatic recitative of Claudio Monteverdi, of whose Orfeo he made a free transcription for La Scala, Milan, in 1935.

Respighi’s wife and pupil, Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo Respighi (1894–1996), was a singer and a composer of operas, choral and symphonic works, and songs.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Born in Bologna in Italy, Ottorino Respighi studied violin and composition at the city's Liceo Musicale from 1891 to 1901. Towards the end of this period, and again in 1902—3, he visited St Petersburg in Russia, where lessons from the great master of orchestration, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, deeply influenced him. In the first decade of the century, living in Bologna, Respighi was active as a pianist, string player, conductor, and teacher, but he was slow to find a characteristic voice as a composer. A setting from 1910 of Shelley's poem "Aretusa" does show a certain amount of individuality, but the shadow of Richard Strauss is all too visible over the huge and unwieldy Sinfonia drammatica of 1913—14.

In 1913 Respighi settled in Rome to take up a post as professor of composition at the Conservatoire. With his four orchestral impressions of Roman scenes at different times of day, Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome; 1914-16), Respighi at last found the perfect vehicle to suit his talent. Without attempting to plumb emotional or intellectual depths, the music evokes glittering and colourful scenes with great success.

Respighi's international reputation was assured when conductors of the calibre of Arturo Toscanini took Fontane di Roma and its successor, Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome), into their repertories. In Pini di Roma, Respighi displays vivid powers of observation as he imitates children's songs in the opening piece, "Pines of Villa Borghese." The night evocation of "Pines of the Janiculum" even uses a gramophone recording of a nightingale's song. Had he been born a generation later. Respighi would have had obvious credentials for a career m film music.

His later attempts to repeat the formula were not always so happy. In Fate Romane (Roman Festivals), for example, the naivete of earlier works turns into boisterous and superficial brashness. But Respighi's explorations into the Italian music of the past, which he had conducted for 20 years, also bore extensive fruit. In the 1919 production of his ballet La boutique fautasque (The Magical Toy-shop), he arranged for orchestra piano pieces by Rossini with ideal wit and verve; and in 1927 he composed the suite for chamber orchestra Gli uccelli (The birds), skilful and affectionate arrangements of short harpsichord pieces by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century composers such as Rameau and Pasquini.

Respighi's interest in the musical language of pre-Classical composers led him to create a series of more austere and abstract instrumental works, such as the Concerto gregoriano of 1921 for violin and orchestra, and the Quartette dorico of 1924. The most attractive and endearing result of these "archaic" interests was the delightful Christmas cantata Lauda per la Nativita del Signore, clearly inspired in part by the works of Monteverdi.

During Respighi's final years he turned his attentions increasingly to opera, but none of the resultant works entered the general repertory, although the charming children's opera La bella dormente nel bosco (The sleeping beauty in the wood) is worthy of revival. His reputation rests to a large extent on his brilliant and attractive use of orchestral colour and timbre to evoke scenes and places, particularly Rome, where he died in 1936.


Violin and Piano Sonata in B minor
Duo Montefiore
Moderato - Agitato

Ottorino Respighi - Pini di Roma
"Pines of Rome" (Pini di Roma) is a symphonic poem for large orchestra, written in 1924 by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi and, together with Fontane di Roma and Feste Romane, forms what is sometimes loosely referred to as his "Roman trilogy". Each movement depicts the pine trees in different locations in Rome at different times of day.
1. "I pini di Villa Borghese" (The Pines of the Villa Borghese)
2. "Pini presso una catacomba" (Pines near a catacomb)
3. "I pini del Gianicolo" (The Pines of the Janiculum)
4. "I pini della Via Appia" (The Pines of the Appian Way)
The first movement, "I pini di Villa Borghese", portrays noisy children playing soldiers and marching in the pine groves of the Borghese gardens. The second movement, "Pini presso una catacomba" is a majestic dirge, representing pine trees near a catacomb in Campagna. Lower orchestral instruments, plus the organ pedal at 16' and 32' pitch, suggest the subterranean nature of the catacombs, while the trombones represent priests chanting. The third part, "I pini del Gianicolo", is a nocturne set near a temple, on the Janiculum hill, of the Roman god Janus. Double-faced gods open large doors and gates, marking the beginning of a new year. Respighi takes the opportunity to include the actual sound of a nightingale, something that had never been done before. (The score mentions a specific recording that can be played on a phonograph: the Brunswick Panatrope). The final movement, "I pini della Via Appia", portrays pine trees along the great Appian Way. Misty dawn: a legion advances along the Via Appia in the brilliance of the newly-risen sun.

Conductor: Fritz Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Ottorino Respighi - Feste Romane
"Feste Romane" (Roman Festivals) is a work for very large symphony orchestra composed in 1926, by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. It is a tone poem depicting scenes from Ancient Rome of the Roman Empire. It is now considered a part of the Roman Trilogy of symphonic poems along with "Pini di Roma" (Pines of Rome) , and "Fontane di Roma" (Fountains of Rome), which are orchestral pieces set to a specific theme, tale or setting. This work is the longest and most demanding of the trilogy, thus it is less-often programmed than its companion pieces. It is also the least known of the three.
Within the first movement called Circenses or Circuses, the music presents the theme of an ancient contest in which gladiators battle to the death, to the sound of trumpet fanfares. Strings and woodwinds suggest the plainchant of the first Christian martyrs which are heard against the snarls of the beasts against which they are pitted. The movement ends with violent orchestral chords, complete with organ pedal, as the martyrs succumb. Next, the Giubileo, or Jubilee, portrays the every-fiftieth-year festival in the Papal tradition. Pilgrims approach Rome catching a breath-taking view from Mt. Mario, as church bells ring in the background. L'Ottobrata, or the Harvest of October, represents the harvest and hunt in Rome. The French horn solo celebrates the harvest as bells portray love serenades. The final movement, called La Befana, or the Epiphany, takes place in the Piazza Navona. Trumpets sound again and create a different clamour of Roman songs and dances, including a drunken reveler depicted by a solo tenor trombone.
Arturo Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the music in Carnegie Hall in 1929. Toscanini recorded it with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Academy of Music in 1942 for RCA Victor. He recorded it again with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall in 1949, again for RCA.
1. Circenses (Circuses)
2. Giubileo (Jubilee)
3. L'Ottobrata (October Festival)
4. La Befana (The Epiphany).
Respighi: Concerto Gregoriano
"Concerto Gregoriano" was composed by Ottorino Respighi This video features all three movements in one video. Performed by the Philharmonia; conducted by Mathias Bamert

I. Andante Tranquillo 00:01
II. Andante Espressivo E Sostenuto 09:12
III. Finale (Alleluia): Allegro Energico 19:40

Ottorino Respighi: Concerto all'antica (P. 75) (1908)
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936): Concerto all'antica per violino e orchestra (P. 75) (1908).

I. Allegro
II. Adagio non troppo [12:45]
III. Scherzo, Vivace tempo di Minuetto [21:30]

Andrea Cappelletti, violino
Philharmonia Orchestra diretta da Matthias Bamert.

Ottorino Respighi: Toccata per pianoforte e orchestra (P. 156) (1928)
ttorino Respighi (1879-1936): Toccata per pianoforte e orchestra (P. 156) (1928) -- Geoffrey Tozer, pianoforte -- BBC Philharmonic diretta da Sir Edward Downes -- Grave - Allegro moderato
Ottorino Respighi: Sinfonia Drammatica (P. 102) (1914)
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936): Sinfonia Drammatica, per grande orchestra (P. 102) (1914) -- BBC Philharmonic diretta da Sir Edward Downes --

I. Allegro energico
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Allegro impetuoso - Tempo di marcia triste

Ottorino Respighi - Trittico botticelliano / Three Botticelli Pictures
Triptyque de Botticelli
I. La primavera [5.35]
II. L'adorazione dei Magi [8.37]
III. La nascita di Venere [5.29]

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Ottorino Respighi: La pentola magica (P. 129) (1920)
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936): La pentola magica, azione coreografica in due quadri su temi popolari russi (P. 129) (1920) -- Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra diretta da Adriano --

1. Preludio (Grecianninov)
2. Canzone armena - 2 bis. Danza
3. Entrata dello Tzar coi fidanzati (Arenski)
4. Scena dello Tzarewich (Paciulski)
5. Danza degli arceri tartari (Rubinstein)
6. Introduzione e danza
7. Danza cosacca (Kosaciok)
8. Danza della seduzione
9. Scena dei baci e arrivo dello Tzar
10. Finale (Rabikaff).

Ottorino Respighi: Christus (P. 24) (1898/1899)
ttorino Respighi (1879-1936): Christus, cantata biblica per soli, coro e orchestra su testo dell'Autore (P. 24) (1898/1899) -- San Matteo: Carlo Gaifa, tenore; Cristo: Roland Hermann, baritono; Giuda: Gastone Sarti, basso -- Coro della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana e Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana diretti da Marco Balderi ---
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