Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Violin Concerto in A major * (rev. compl. Salvatore Di Vittorio) (1903) [21:08]
Suite for Strings (rev. Salvatore Di Vittorio) (1902) [27:33]
Aria for Strings * (transcr. Salvatore Di Vittorio) (1901) [5:51]
Rossiniana: Suite for Orchestra (after Gioacchino Rossini) (1925) [23:01]
Laura Marzadori (violin)
Chamber Orchestra of New York, Ottorino Respighi/Salvatore Di Vittorio
rec. Concert Hall, Adelphi University Performing Arts Centre, Long Island, New York, USA 15-16 February and 24-25 May 2010.
* world premiere recordings
NAXOS 8.572332 [77:32]
For Respighi enthusiasts this is a novel and worthy release.
The Chamber Orchestra of New York ‘Ottorino Respighi’ was founded by Salvatore Di Vittorio in 2006. It comprises leading young professional musicians. As its name implies, a principal aim is to promote the music of Respighi and other Italian masters. On the evidence of this CD, their enthusiasm and that of their conductor is indisputable. His revisions, transcriptions and completions are sensitive to Respighi’s neo-Baroque style.

Respighi’s unfinished A major Violin Concerto was written in 1903 when the composer was in his mid-twenties. He completed the first two movements and began the third in piano reduction with only a few measures orchestrated. Di Vittorio has reviewed all three movements enhancing the orchestration of the first two and extending the scope of the third using material from the other movements. This Violin Concerto has a sunny disposition. It is lyrical and romantic and is reminiscent of Vivaldi and the youthful Mendelssohn. Although not in the same class as the 1908 Concerto all’antica, the gorgeous Concerto Gregoriano (1921) and the single movement Poema autunnale (1925), this little Concerto has much to commend it especially the rapturous sylvan central movement. One can hear distant echoes here of Respighi’s later music such as the central ‘Janiculum’ of the Pines of Rome. Laura Marzadori gives a most compelling reading, tenderly romantic in the slow movement and passionate in the exuberant finale. She is given sterling support by the talented and enthusiastic young orchestra and by the dedication of Di Vittorio. The premiere of the completion of this First Violin Concerto was held in New York in 2010.
The enchanting Suite for Strings from 1902 comprises six movements in Baroque style. It may be regarded as the precursor of Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances No. 3 for strings. The movements comprise: a solemn chaconne with characterful variations, a graceful Siciliana, a joyful and scurrying Giga, a lovely mournful Sarabande, a playful Burlesca and an elegant Rigaudon.
The 1901 Aria for Strings nods back to the era of Vivaldi, Frescobaldi and Corelli and was later incorporated by Respighi into his Suite in G major for strings and organ. Di Vittorio’s sensitive and affectionate transcription based on Respighi’s original manuscript and hand-written parts makes this a serene little elegy for either string orchestra as here, or string quintet.
Rossiniana is the best known work here and enthusiasts will know that this work is based on piano pieces that Rossini completed in retirement. Respighi stamped his own personality on them and created a colourfully orchestrated work of much wit and charm. Listening to the operatic indulgences of the second Lamento one might have thought that this work was a ‘Verdiana’. This is a warm-hearted breezy performance that competes well with other recordings.
The recorded sound is first class.
A notable release for Respighi enthusiasts.
Ian Lace
A notable release for Respighi enthusiasts.