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Ottorino Respighi

July 9, 1879 - April 18, 1936
born in Bologna, Italy, composed during the Modern period
Mostly known for his richly descriptive symphonic poems Fontane di Roma (The Fountains of Rome) and Pini di Roma (The Pines of Rome), Respighi was a versatile composer who translated into music powerful visual experiences and feelings of deep attachment to cherished places. Respighi's symphonic works are praised primarily for their exquisite orchestration, but these compositions also possess a charm which transcends the merely picturesque. This charm is particularly evident in works inspired by Medieval and Renaissance music, such as Ancient Airs and Dances for orchestra.

Born in 1879, Respighi studied from 1891 to 1900 at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna. In 1900 and 1902, he traveled to Russia, where he played the viola in the Imperial Orchestra in St. Petersburg. During his two extended visits to Russia, Respighi studied with Rimsky-Korsakov, absorbing the Russian master's ideas regarding orchestral color. In 1903, Respighi turned to a career of a concert violinist; he also played chamber music, joining Bologna's Mugellini Quartet as a violist. During the early 1900s, Respighi started writing music, but his compositions (chamber and orchestral works) attracted little attention. In 1908-1909, he was in Berlin, where he immersed himself in German musical culture. In 1913, Respighi settled in Rome, accepting a composition professorship at the Liceo (subsequently Conservatorio) di Santa Cecilia. Enchanted by Rome, Respighi found inspiration in the city's unique atmosphere and consequently formulated an original, personal musical language, exemplified by Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome), written in 1914-1916.

Respighi's next project was a children's opera, La bella dormente nel bosco (Sleeping Beauty), finished in 1921, and regarded as his best stage work. After the Fontane di Roma, Respighi sought inspiration in early music, introducing Renaissance and Medieval themes into his compositions. In 1917, he composed the first set of his Antiche arie e danze per liuto (&Ancient Airs and Dances for Lute), for piano duet and strings. The second and third sets, for strings, were composed in 1923 and 1931, respectively. Sometimes regarded as adaptations, these compositions nevertheless exude a unique freshness and sincerity.

Works composed in the 1920s reflected both Respighi's fascination with early music and his desire to translate visual sensations into music. Thus, the Concerto gregoriano for violin and orchestra, composed in 1921, and Quartetto dorico, written in 1924, evoke the spirit of ancient music, while The Pines of Rome describes the splendor of the Roman landscape.

In 1924, Respighi was named director of the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, resigning, however, two years later, so he would have more time to compose. Nevertheless, this period included two American tours, in 1925-1926 and 1932, as a conductor and pianist. He also accompanied singers, including his wife, Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo, who was also a composer. Works composed during this period include Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows), for orchestra, written in 1925, and the Trittico botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures), composed in 1927 -- a work inspired by three paintings by the great Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli. Composed in 1928-1930, Respighi's Lauda per la Nativita del Signore, for two pianos, wind ensembles, vocal soloists, and chorus, develops Renaissance motifs to create a charming, serene celebration of the spirit of Christmas. Elected to the Royal Academy of Italy in 1932, Respighi died in 1936. ~ Zoran Minderovic, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Ottorino Respighi - Ballets

Title: Scherzo Veneziano (Le Astuzie Di Colombina), Ballet, P. 130
Title: Sèvres De La Vieille France, Ballet On 17-18th-century Themes, P. 128
Title: La Pentola Magica, Ballet On Russian Melodies, P. 129
x

Track List: Ottorino Respighi: Piano Music

Title: Ancient Airs And Dances, Set 1, Arrangements (6) For Piano, P. 114
Title: Pezzi (6), For Piano, P, 44
Title: Piano Sonata In F Minor, P. 16
Title: Preludes (3) On Gregorian Melodies, For Piano, P. 131
x

Track List: Respighi: Belfagor Overture; Pines Of Rome; Fountains Of Rome

Disc 1
Title: Belfagor, Concert Overture, For Orchestra (after Opera "Belfagor"), P. 140
Title: Pini Di Roma (The Pines Of Rome), Symphonic Poem, P. 141
Title: Fontane Di Roma (The Fountains Of Rome), Symphonic Poem, P. 106
Title: Gli Uccelli (The Birds), Suite For Orchestra, P. 154
Disc 2
Title: Trittico Botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures) For Orchestra, P. 151
Title: Ancient Airs And Dances, Set 1, Arrangements (4) For Orchestra, P. 109
Title: Ancient Airs And Dances, Set 2, Arrangements (4) For Orchestra, P. 138
Title: Ancient Airs And Dances, Set 3, Arrangements (4) For Strings, P. 172
x

Track List: Respighi: Complete Songs for Voice and Piano, Vol. 3

Title: Liriche su parole di poeti armeni, songs (4) for voice & piano, P. 132
Title: Liriche, songs (2) for voice & piano, P. 123
Title: Liriche, songs (5) for voice & piano, P. 108
Title: Liriche, songs (4) for voice, harp, keyboard & strings, P. 125
Title: La donna sul sarcofago, song for voice & piano, P. 121
Title: La statua, song for voice & piano, P. 122
Title: Arie scozzesi, songs (4) for voice & piano, P. 143
x

Track List: Respighi: Complete Songs, Vol. 2

Title: Storia Breve, Song For Mezzo-soprano & Piano, P. 52
Title: Miranda, Song For Voice & Piano, P. 39
Title: Nevicata, Song For Mezzo-soprano & Piano, P. 65
Title: Scherzo, Song For Soprano & Piano, P. 68
Title: Nebbie, Song For Mezzo-soprano & Piano (or Orchestra), P. 64
Title: Liriche Series I, Songs (6) For Mezzo-soprano & Piano, P. 90
Title: E Se Un Giorno Tornasse, Recitative For Mezzo-soprano & Piano, P. 96
Title: Lagrime!, Song (romance) For Tenor & Piano, P. 9
Title: Melodie, Songs (6) For Voice & Piano, P. 89
Title: Rispetti Toscani, Songs (4) For Soprano & Piano, P. 103
Title: Canzone Sarda, For Voice & Piano, P. 155
Title: Le Funtanelle, Song For Voice & Piano, P. 164
x

Track List: Respighi: La Pentola Magica; La Sensitiva; Aretusa [Hybrid SACD]

Title: La Sensitiva, For Mezzo-soprano & Orchestra, P. 104
Title: La Pentola Magica, Ballet On Russian Melodies, P. 129
Title: Aretusa, For Mezzo-soprano & Orchestra, P. 95
x

Track List: Respighi: Sinfonia Drammatica, P 102 P102

Comments

Love the Pines of Rome.
Joey-SD: check out a guy named Scelsi... talk about "suspense soundtrack" before it was invented!!
Highly underrated composer.
the pines of Rome is great; a favorite of mine though I'm quite an amateur
of classical music. That doesn't detract from my persona;l enjoyment of it or of the majestic and magical works of so many great composers.
www.ramonj_l o y a
ottorino respighi is by far my favorite composer
I'm hearing music I have never heard before and have been listening to classical all my lifew
jfox44312
My favorite Christmas song of all time is "The Adoration of the Magi" by Respighi. Pandora - PLEASE add it to your list!
ffmindte
Please, please include "The Pines of Rome" in Pandora.com' s listings of BEAUTIFUL Respighi's music!! Pandora.com makes my day complete and this inclusion would make it absolutely DIVINE. --FFMindte, a most devoted fan of Pandora.com.
titonerichar d
this is of the highest nature of human work
gpendlay
Or you might be thiking of Feste Romana by Respighi which has a lot of fireworks in it, just not in the title.
To billibsam: There's also the ballet "The Firebird" composed by Igor Stravinsky, or you might be thinking of "Music For The Royal Fireworks" by George Frideric Handel.
cross.stephe n
To billibsam, you might by looking for 'fireworks' by Igor Stravinsky. If not, I apologize, that's the only Fireworks suite I'm aware of...
Do you have anything with the words: fire or fireworks, written by him.
katedkelley
One of Respighi's finest works needs to be included-- "The Pines of Rome". It is filled with emotion and conjures up such beautiful images with its dramatic segments.
Wow. These modern guys wrote the suspense soundtrack b4 it even existed

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