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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Variazioni sinfoniche (1900) [12:20]*
Preludio, corale e fuga (1901) [17:44]
Burlesca (1906) [7:23]
Ouverture carnevalesca (1913) [8:41]
Suite in E major (1903) [32:52]
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Adriano
Ferdinand Klinda (organ) *
rec. Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava. 31 Jan - 7 Feb 1991. DDD
originally released as Marco Polo 8.223348
NAXOS 8.557820 [79:00]


This is out of the usual Respighi to put it mildly.

The Variazioni Sinfoniche are in a sort of suavely Brahmsian language linking Brahms 4 and the St Anthony Variations. There is a real sense of circumstance about this music: grave, without levity, tragic at times, yet lean and not in the least ponderous.

There is a little more levity in the tripartite Preludio, corale e fuga which is here given in a single track. This smacks somewhat of the balletic Glazunov. but is also uninhibitedly romantic as at 5:48 as well as touching on the manner of the Variazioni sinfoniche at 13:10. It ends with a blaze of Brucknerian majesty.

The Burlesca marks a break with the suave quasi-Brahmsian style. The effect is more impressionistic. This is squarely the Respighi we know from the Roman poems.

The Ouverture carnevalesca is a galloping romp with a clear Neapolitan sentimentality and feel-good effect: Dvořák's Carnival Overture meets Respighi.

The grey-neutral title Suite in E major masks a fruity half hour work in four movements. Again the influence here is Glazunov in his best choreographic manner. Some of this could be lost sections from The Seasons or from the more idyllic moments in Dvořák symphonies 7 and 8. The ardently singing solo violin might even suggest an Italian Lark Ascending. The allegretto vivace reminded me of the Russophile Bax's ceremonial music. In this work Respighi is more carefree than in the Variazioni or the Preludio, corale e fuga. In the last movement the work looks forward to the smoothly Gregorian writing of Respighi's later years. As for the closing pages they could not have been written without the example of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and the Capriccio Italien. Fun though!

There's some quite attractive writing here but this is more a stimulating confection for the Respighian than for the generalist.


Rob Barnett

 

 



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