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Respighi: Orchestral Works Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal De Liege, Anna Caterina Antonacci

Respighi: Orchestral Works Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal De Liege, Anna Caterina Antonacci

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This 7-SACD collection includes recordings made by Brazilian-born conductor John Neschling of the orchestral works of Ottorino Respighi, alongside Puccini the best-known Italian composer of the first half of the twentieth century. Widely praised by the press, including BBC Music Magazine, which described them as ‘the finest-ever survey of the composer’s orchestral output undertaken by a single conductor’, these recordings reveal Respighi’s extraordinary range.

His transcriptions of works from the baroque period bear witness to his great musical refinement and are an example of the way in which people dared to adapt to current tastes at the beginning of the 20th century. His original compositions, whether symphonic poems, ballets or symphonic works, often call for a large orchestra, sometimes with the addition of numerous percussion instruments, piano, organ and even, in Pines of Rome, a phonograph, present a synthesis of the musical traditions of his native Italy and contemporary romantic, impressionist and neo-classical trends while remaining resolutely closed to modernist developments and atonality. Respighi’s lavish sound palette and the spirit that fills his scores were to find an echo in Hollywood film music, and John Williams considers him to be one of his most important influences.

Past praise of the previously released recordings included in this set:

Respighi: The Birds; Ancient Airs & Dances

These performances are uncommonly airy. Much of this music is suffused with an autumnal melancholy, and Neschling and his orchestra capture that very well.

-- Fanfare

Respighi: Metamorphoseon, etc.

All of the performances here are expert, but conductor John Neschling deserves particular credit for keeping things movement purposefully forward in the first two long, and mostly slowish, movements of the Belkis suite. The same work’s vulgar (let’s not kid ourselves) concluding Danza orgiastica also sounds more musical than usual–less like a back-alley gang bang–but with no loss of energy. The Liège orchestra plays with great bravura, and BIS’s SACD sonics, typically, are just terrific. In short, a very worthy entry in this ongoing series.


Respighi: Roman Trilogy / Neschling, Sao Paulo Symphony

The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra is a superb ensemble by any standards, and displays their virtuosity in the three Respighi symphonic poems.


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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 7
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    • Label: BIS
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