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Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Humoreske for violin and orchestra* (1903) [11:50]
Leggenda for violin and orchestra (1902) [6:37]
Sei piccoli pezzi* (orch. Adriano) (1926) [12:55]
Rossiniana (1925) [25:18]
Marco Rogliano (violin)
Sassari Symphony Orchestra/Roberto Diem Tigani
* World premiere recordings
No recording details given; published November 2007
INEDITA PI2632 [57:00]
Experience Classicsonline

This is a delightful collection of lesser-known Respighi.
All works here are scored for a smaller orchestra than for the three opulent Roman portraits: ’Pines, ’Fountains and ’Festivals. The melodic and freely rhapsodic Humoreske for violin and orchestra dates from 1903. It has all the elements of a concerto in miniature with a grateful part for the violin. Respighi, aged 24, was in Berlin studying with Max Bruch. The Humoreske is charming and graceful but not without pomposity and artful humour reminiscent of the Commedia dell’arte. Its orchestration already shows the colour and imagination that would be Respighi’s hallmark including some clever blending of triangle and timpani. Why this little gem has escaped attention until now is a mystery. The sweetly lyrical and elegiac Leggenda is another composition that has inexplicably escaped attention even if it had not slipped into the kind of oblivion that befell Humoreske. Marco Rogliano is a beguiling soloist, beautifully expressive, clearly relishing these two lovely romantic pieces.
The Sei piccoli pezzi (Six little pieces) was written for four-handed piano and dedicated to children. It has been transcribed for orchestra by that champion of Respighi’s music, the conductor Adriano, who has recorded so much lesser-known Respighi for Marco Polo. Adriano’s vividly colourful transcriptions are faithful not only to the style of Respighi but also to the spirit of childhood and its joys. This is the orchestral version’s premier recording. It is unashamedly romantic and nostalgic - the first piece, marked ‘Romanza’, especially so. ‘Canto di caccia siciliano’ reminds one of playground games, one can so easily imagine hopscotch for instance; the graceful, lilting ‘Canzone armena’ is something of a lullaby; ‘Natale, Natale!’ is a rustic whimsical melody with bells that suggests a nursery-rhyme tune. ‘Cantilena scozzese’ is a chinoiserie, while, finally, ‘Piccoli highlanders’ transports us to Scotland for a tongue-in-cheek highland dance with Adriano’s orchestration brilliantly suggesting the bagpipes. Adriano makes glittering use of an array of treble percussion including celesta and tubular bells.
Rossiniana is suite of four movements based on Rossini’s Les Riens, a collection of divertissements for piano written in Paris in his old age. They foreshadowed the eccentricities of Satie by a half century or so. Respighi orchestrated them with considerable wit and in spirit they are not too far removed from Respighi’s much more familiar Rossini transcription, the ballet music, La Boutique fantasque. The first movement is the delightful ‘Capri e Taormina’ (Barcarola e Siciliana). ‘The Lamento’, second movement is much more sinister, beginning with deep tam-tam strokes; this is a melodramatic piece that lampoons operatic and other romantic excesses; reminding one maybe of Puccini (Manon Lescaut) and Berlioz (Le Carnaval romain) amongst others. The short ‘Intermezzo’ is all filigree grace, with a fairy-like daintiness and exquisite woodwind writing. The final movement ‘Tarantella’ is self-explanatory and a hedonistic delight. Once again, much colourful percussion is in evidence throughout Rossiniana
A rare treat for Respighi fans. Engaging performances in very good sound. This recording is almost bound to be one of my CDs of 2008.
Ian Lace


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