Author Topic: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)  (Read 49911 times)

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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2017, 04:37:22 AM »
Perhaps it’s because Respighi has yet to really take ahold of the classical music world. Don’t get wrong, he composed some good music, but out of the ‘Roman Trilogy,’ the rest of the music he composed isn’t all too well known.

That's no excuse these days, when all sorts of non-standard-repertoire stuff is thankfully being recorded for us to hear and judge for ourselves. Does the complete score actually exist, in a performable state, I wonder? I'd love to hear the complete Belkis ballet.

Offline relm1

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2017, 07:17:54 AM »
That's no excuse these days, when all sorts of non-standard-repertoire stuff is thankfully being recorded for us to hear and judge for ourselves. Does the complete score actually exist, in a performable state, I wonder? I'd love to hear the complete Belkis ballet.

Isn't this it?
https://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.action?itemid=50484172&lid=21&keywords=respighi&subsiteid=1&

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #102 on: February 28, 2017, 08:12:29 AM »
Isn't this it?
https://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.action?itemid=50484172&lid=21&keywords=respighi&subsiteid=1&

The fact it's got Church Windows as well, and it's only 198 pages, makes me think it's just the suite. But I may be wrong. There's no way to know just from that. According to the liner notes of the Chandos CD, the complete Belkis is close to 80 minutes in length.

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #103 on: February 28, 2017, 12:26:04 PM »
The complete score (including, mezzo soprano, narrator and chorus)  is available at: https://repertoire-explorer.musikmph.de/en/product/respighi-ottorinoy/


Preface

Given Ottorino Respighi’s outstanding mastery in handling the modern orchestra and his
superb gifts for impressionist tone-painting (the very qualities cited by the many detractors and
adversaries of this great composer), it is astonishing how little he composed for the ballet. The
ever-popular La Boutique fantasque on music by Gioacchino Rossini (1918), Sévres de la
vieille France (“Old French Porcelain”) on French folk tunes (1920), La pentola magica (“The
Magic Kettle”) on Russian themes (1924), and Gli uccelli (1928): these were all he had to
show by the year 1931, when La Scala in Milan commissioned him to compose what would
become his only full-length ballet, Belkis, Regina di Saba (the Ricordi catalogue gives its
duration as 80 minutes). The scenario, depicting the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon,
was supplied by Respighi’s poet-friend Claudio Guastalla (1880-1948), a professor of literature
who also wrote the libretto to Respighi’s opera Belfagor. In fact, Guastalla had written an opera
libretto on the same biblical subject but could not find a composer willing to set it to music.
Elsa Respighi, in her biography of her husband (1931), has precious little to say about Belkis.
It reads as follows: “During the spring and summer, Respighi worked on undisturbed at ‘The
Pines.’ The two operas Maria Egiziaca and Fiamma were under way and there was also the
ballet Belkis, Regina di Saba, which had to be ready for performance at La Scala early in the
following year. Respighi had given this subject much thought for many years before he decided
on a ballet and was now in possession of a great deal of thematic material (Hebrew melodies,
oriental song-accompaniments, etc.).”
Respighi made ample use of the opportunity to revive his ties to ancient Arabic and Hebrew
music. Among other things this left a mark on the gigantic size of the orchestra, which calls for
exotic instruments, a backstage band, a chorus, and a narrator. The première in Milan thus
became a major event, with Leonide Massine responsible for the choreography and Nicola
Benois for the sets and costumes. An estimated one-thousand performers were involved in the
première, which took place at La Scala on 23 January 1932 under the baton of Franco Ghione.
The public and critics responded enthusiastically, but after eleven performances the expensive
production had had its day. Nicolas Slominsky, in his inimitable way, recorded the event in
Music Since 1900: “23 January 1932: Belkis, regina di Saba, ‘choreographic spectacle with
musical illustrations’ by Ottorino Respighi, written in a resplendently eclectic style, with
orientalistically undulant arabesques characterizing the Queen of Sheba and pentatonic scales
depicting the populace, is produced at La Scala, in Milan.”
Since then Belkis, Regina di Saba has never again been mounted on stage, and the only printed
material available for purchase is the vocal score. Realizing that further performances of Belkis
were practically impossible, Respighi decided to extract two orchestral suites from it for use in
the concert hall. He was able to complete one of them in 1934, which was duly published by
Ricordi in miniature score (1935), but the second suite remained unfinished. Thanks to the
House of Ricordi, who kindly provided the production master, the present volume marks not
only the first time the ballet has appeared in study format, but its very first appearance in a
commercially available full score.
Translation: Bradford Robinson
For performance materials please contact the publisher Edizioni Ricordi, Milano.




« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 12:32:34 PM by pjme »

Online vandermolen

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #104 on: July 01, 2017, 09:04:01 PM »
Working my way through this fine, incredibly good value (8CDs) set:


The performances and the recordings are excellent and there are some great juxtapositions of works on the same CD including two of my favourites the Concerto in modo misolidio and Metamorphoseon modi XII. Also the Three Botticelli Pictures and Church Windows on the same CD. I thought that the opening of 'St Gregory the Great' in the latter was rather fast compared to Geoffrey Simon on Chandos but it builds up great cumulative power towards the magnificent (IMHO) conclusion. Currently listening to the eloquent Concerto Gregoriano.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 09:10:41 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #105 on: July 02, 2017, 06:23:16 AM »
Working my way through this fine, incredibly good value (8CDs) set:


The performances and the recordings are excellent and there are some great juxtapositions of works on the same CD including two of my favourites the Concerto in modo misolidio and Metamorphoseon modi XII. Also the Three Botticelli Pictures and Church Windows on the same CD. I thought that the opening of 'St Gregory the Great' in the latter was rather fast compared to Geoffrey Simon on Chandos but it builds up great cumulative power towards the magnificent (IMHO) conclusion. Currently listening to the eloquent Concerto Gregoriano.

Too bad the "Complete Orchestral Music" collection doesn't include a note of Belkis let alone the entire score which I think is still waiting a recording.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #106 on: July 02, 2017, 09:16:24 AM »
Too bad the "Complete Orchestral Music" collection doesn't include a note of Belkis let alone the entire score which I think is still waiting a recording.
Yes, that's naughty of them I must say.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #107 on: July 06, 2017, 02:52:33 PM »
Working my way through this fine, incredibly good value (8CDs) set:


The performances and the recordings are excellent and there are some great juxtapositions of works on the same CD including two of my favourites the Concerto in modo misolidio and Metamorphoseon modi XII. Also the Three Botticelli Pictures and Church Windows on the same CD. I thought that the opening of 'St Gregory the Great' in the latter was rather fast compared to Geoffrey Simon on Chandos but it builds up great cumulative power towards the magnificent (IMHO) conclusion. Currently listening to the eloquent Concerto Gregoriano.

Some days ago I played that performance of Metamorphoseon on Naxos Music Library: it's terribly slow! it lasts around 35' (almost 36'), it loses its charm, its power. Simon's performance with Philharmonia Orchestra lasts 25' and for me is the best rendition. In fact, all his performances of Respighi's music are terrific.

On the other hand, also I played again the Suite from Belkis, Regina di Saba (Simon with the Philharmonia). Once more I was amazed with such a sumptuous score, throbbing display of frenetic rhythm and energy. I don't understand why it hasn't recorded totally, I'd love to have it and many other fans would like too.

Offline relm1

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #108 on: July 06, 2017, 03:24:06 PM »
Some days ago I played that performance of Metamorphoseon on Naxos Music Library: it's terribly slow! it lasts around 35' (almost 36'), it loses its charm, its power. Simon's performance with Philharmonia Orchestra lasts 25' and for me is the best rendition. In fact, all his performances of Respighi's music are terrific.

On the other hand, also I played again the Suite from Belkis, Regina di Saba (Simon with the Philharmonia). Once more I was amazed with such a sumptuous score, throbbing display of frenetic rhythm and energy. I don't understand why it hasn't recorded totally, I'd love to have it and many other fans would like too.

I agree with you.  I love Simon's recordings of Respighi especially given the ultra luxurious mid 1980's sound Chandos had. 

Turner

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #109 on: July 06, 2017, 08:22:09 PM »
Quote
Why hasn't there ever been a complete recording of Belkis, Queen of Sheba?  Only multiple recordings of the suite but the music seems worthy of a full release by a commercially successful composer.

There is this one, Feltz´s one from 2014, but unfortunately with narrators and only on DVD and Blu-Ray (for example, Scherchen did a handful of recordings of some other works with narrator, say Schumann´s Manfred, and it can be very annoying).

I don´t have it, but totally agree on the excellence of the suite on Chandos.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ottorino-Respighi-Belkis-Premiere-Blu-ray/dp/B00FW7P9VG
 

« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 09:34:55 PM by Turner »

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #110 on: July 06, 2017, 09:31:41 PM »
I agree with you.  I love Simon's recordings of Respighi especially given the ultra luxurious mid 1980's sound Chandos had.

Yes, Simon's 'Church Windows' is terrific too.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #111 on: July 07, 2017, 03:21:21 PM »
There is this one, Feltz´s one from 2014, but unfortunately with narrators and only on DVD and Blu-Ray (for example, Scherchen did a handful of recordings of some other works with narrator, say Schumann´s Manfred, and it can be very annoying).

I don´t have it, but totally agree on the excellence of the suite on Chandos.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ottorino-Respighi-Belkis-Premiere-Blu-ray/dp/B00FW7P9VG

I didn't know that. I don't like narrator voices in the works either. It's a notorious disadvantage. Too bad  :(  >:(

Offline Christo

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #112 on: July 07, 2017, 11:58:23 PM »
Some days ago I played that performance of Metamorphoseon on Naxos Music Library: it's terribly slow! it lasts around 35' (almost 36'), it loses its charm, its power.

Exactly what I found, too - and what me made 'suspicious' about this set. Metamorphoseon is one of my Respighi favourites and this recording is definitely spoiling it. I didn't try all of the La Vecchia recordings, but what I did listen to, is never better than the favourite recordings I had in mind. As an almost (early compositions and Belkis missing) complete set, it has its merits, but they're not the final word on Respighi.
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Offline Abuelo Igor

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #113 on: July 08, 2017, 01:59:32 AM »
La Vecchia's versions of the Roman Trilogy must also be the slowest on record, which I often find interesting because you get to hear orchestral detail that usually whizzes by unnoticed at standard speed.
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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #114 on: January 01, 2018, 10:52:19 PM »
Just recently listened to Respighi's Quintet



I didn't know quite what to expect, but I enjoyed it a great deal. The music was melodic, well structured, more "absolute" than I would have expected based on his orchestral works. On to the String Quartet from he same recording.

P.S., I couldn't resist listening again to "Pini di Roma," this time in Lorin Maazel's recording with the Pittsburgh Symphony on Sony. The final movement is particularly breathtaking in this recording, in which the orchestra was captured with only two microphones positioned high above the stage, producing a climax of exceptional clarity and great weight of sound.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 11:36:19 PM by Baron Scarpia »

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #115 on: January 02, 2018, 02:08:45 AM »
Just recently listened to Respighi's Quintet



I didn't know quite what to expect, but I enjoyed it a great deal. The music was melodic, well structured, more "absolute" than I would have expected based on his orchestral works. On to the String Quartet from he same recording.

P.S., I couldn't resist listening again to "Pini di Roma," this time in Lorin Maazel's recording with the Pittsburgh Symphony on Sony. The final movement is particularly breathtaking in this recording, in which the orchestra was captured with only two microphones positioned high above the stage, producing a climax of exceptional clarity and great weight of sound.
That is a great CD.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #116 on: January 02, 2018, 11:41:09 AM »
Just recently listened to Respighi's Quintet



I didn't know quite what to expect, but I enjoyed it a great deal. The music was melodic, well structured, more "absolute" than I would have expected based on his orchestral works. On to the String Quartet from he same recording.

I really enjoy the Piano Quintet as well! But the slow movement is way too brief at only 2 minutes long :o
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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #117 on: January 15, 2018, 09:33:49 AM »
Continuing my exploration of non-programic Respighi with the Metamorphoseon (a theme and variations).





In this case I don't find the piece entirely satisfying. It is peculiar that the theme itself sounds 'English' to me, as though it were the start of some fantasia or another on English folk tunes by Vaughan Williams. It is a pleasant enough starting point but the variations that follow struck me as of uneven quality, although some really hit he mark. Generally I found the Lopez-Cobos to be far less satisfactory than the Simon/Philharmonia. The balances the the Lopez-Cobos struck me as crudely unbalanced in favor of the brass, with horns not prominent enough in the texture. In any case, after three complete listens overall my impression is of a piece with some good music, but not a masterpiece through-and-through.

Probably I will turn my attention to concerti, next.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 09:38:48 AM by Baron Scarpia »

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #118 on: January 16, 2018, 07:06:02 AM »
Continuing my exploration of non-programic Respighi with the Metamorphoseon (a theme and variations).





In this case I don't find the piece entirely satisfying. It is peculiar that the theme itself sounds 'English' to me, as though it were the start of some fantasia or another on English folk tunes by Vaughan Williams. It is a pleasant enough starting point but the variations that follow struck me as of uneven quality, although some really hit he mark. Generally I found the Lopez-Cobos to be far less satisfactory than the Simon/Philharmonia. The balances the the Lopez-Cobos struck me as crudely unbalanced in favor of the brass, with horns not prominent enough in the texture. In any case, after three complete listens overall my impression is of a piece with some good music, but not a masterpiece through-and-through.

Probably I will turn my attention to concerti, next.

Interesting. Carry on  8)
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Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Ottorino Respighi(1879-1936)
« Reply #119 on: January 16, 2018, 10:59:22 AM »
Generally I found the Lopez-Cobos to be far less satisfactory than the Simon/Philharmonia. The balances the the Lopez-Cobos struck me as crudely unbalanced in favor of the brass, with horns not prominent enough in the texture. In any case, after three complete listens overall my impression is of a piece with some good music, but not a masterpiece through-and-through.

Probably I will turn my attention to concerti, next.

Lopez-Cobos really liked Respighi it seems. While I was working for the Cincinnati Orchestra during my conservatory days he also conducted Respighi's orchestration of some of Rachmaninoff's Etudes Tableaux. I don't know if they ever recorded them. The materials (Ricordi?) were full of errors and needed a thorough proof-reading before they were ready for prime time. Strange, I think Rachmaninoff himself made that complaint about the Respighi orchestrations.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 11:05:37 AM by BasilValentine »