Saturday, September 04, 2010

Respighi, Italian Impressionist

A composer most people will have heard of, but whose presence in CD collections is usually limited to 0 or 1: Italian Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936). Personally I consider him the best Italian composer of all time, ahead of the likes of Puccini, Verdi and Vivaldi, and I have about 10 CD's with his compositions. The one CD to start with, and indeed his most famous combination of works, is the so called Roman trilogy, three tone poems on Roman themes. Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome) from 1916, Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) of 1924, and Feste Romane (Roman Festivals) of 1928. This one is essential and should be in all classical music collections. But by all means, do not stop there and explore further the wonderful world of Respighi. The Naxos CD has acclaimed performances by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Enrique Batiz - a version to rival any full price issues.