Dear Professor Friedland
Could you recommend some recordings of The Pines of Rome by Respighi which have the best renditions of the famous clarinet solo?
Thank your your query concerned with
The Pines of Rome”, by Ottorino Resphigi.
It would a relatively simple matter to give you a list of my favorite recording by Resphigi, for as many cklarinetists, I have had a life long interest in his works, especially those featurng the clarinet . following is a basic biographical treatise on Resphigi, who was for the most part of his life a violinist, coposing mny string quartets as well as performing with them.
But he gave up his performance in order to develope his compositional talents whch were considerable.is gift for orchestration and for insrumentation comes from his own talents, but also those gainedby studying with both Max Bruch and Nicolai Rimsky Korsakov, though his composition seems by contrast to be totally original and imaginative.
You will see at the conclusion of this, a long list of recordings of various of the works by Resphigi, which I hope witll certainly assist in answeri g your initial question, however I would hasten to ask the following criteria to assist yo in your choice of which you feel is best for you.
1. The basic tonal quality of the clarinetist.
2 .he legato quality of the player, perhaps most important for this work
3. the actual recording itself.
its quality, clarity, accuracy.
For all of the above you will need to have acquired the ability to discern all of the above. Perhaps you have already achieved this. If not, it may serve as a handy reminder of what to listen for so as to base your own opinion, which is most important.
Most sincerely, and cordially.
Ottorino Respighi was born in Bologna, Italy. He was taught piano and violin by his father, who was a local piano teacher. He continued studying violin and viola with Federico Sarti at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, composition with Giuseppe Martucci, and historical studies with Luigi Torchi, a scholar of early music. In 1900, Respighi went to Russia to be principal violist in the orchestra of the Russian Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg during its season of Italian opera; while there he studied composition for five months with Rimsky-Korsakov. He also had composition lessons with Max Bruch in 1902 in Berlin. Until 1908 his principal activity was as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet, before turning his attention entirely to composition.
Respighi moved to Rome in 1913 and lived there for the rest of his life, after being appointed a teacher of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia. He married a former pupil, singer Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo, in 1919. From 1923 to 1926 he was director of the Conservatorio. In 1925 he collaborated with Sebastiano Arturo Luciani on an elementary textbook entitled Orpheus.
Respighi maintained an uneasy relationship with Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party during his later years. He vouched for more outspoken critics such as Arturo Toscanini, allowing them to continue to work under the regime. Feste Romane, the third part of his Roman trilogy, was premiered by Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1929; Toscanini recorded the music twice forRCA Victor, first with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1942 and then with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1949, and RCA released both versions, first on LP and then CD. Respighi’s music had considerable success in the USA: the Toccata for piano and orchestra was premiered (with Respighi as soloist) underWillem Mengelberg with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in November 1928, and the large-scale theme and variations entitled Metamorphoseon was a commission for the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In his role as musicologist, Respighi was also an enthusiastic scholar of Italian music of the 16th-18th centuries. He published editions of the music of Claudio Monteverdi and Antonio Vivaldi, and ofBenedetto Marcello’s Didone. Because of his devotion to these older figures and their styles of composing, it is tempting to see him as a typical exponent of Neo-classicism. In fact, Neo-Renaissanceor Neo-Baroque would probably more accurately describe his compositions that are based on earlier work. Respighi generally kept clear of the musical idiom of the classical period, unlike most neo-classical composers. He preferred combining pre-classical melodic styles and musical forms (like dance suites) with typical late 19th century romantic harmonies and textures.
He died in his Roman villa named “I Pini”. A year after his burial, his remains were moved to his birthplace Bologna and reinterred at the city at the cost of Bologna.
Note: The Roman Trilogy is one of the most ubiquitous works in the catalogue, and has been recorded by all the major world ensembles under many prominent conductors. The recording of the first two withFritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the most respected in the catalogue and features prominently in recommended listings in such publications as the Good CD Guide and thePenguin Guide to CDs.
I Pini di Roma/Feste Romane/Fontane di Roma – Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano, (EMI Classics)
I Pini di Roma/Fontane di Roma – Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Reiner, (RCA) (on JVC in Japan)
I Pini di Roma/Feste Romane/Fontane di Roma – Montreal Symphony Orchestra/ Charles Dutoit, (Decca)
I Pini di Roma/Feste Romane/Fontane di Roma – NBC Symphony Orchestra/ Arturo Toscanini, (RCA)
I Pini di Roma/Feste Romane/Fontane di Roma – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ Enrique Bátiz, (Naxos)
Brazilian Impressions/Metamorphoseon – Philharmonia Orchestra/ Geoffrey Simon, (Chandos)
Ancient Airs and Dances I-III (Antiche Aire e Danze) – Philharmonia Hungarica/ Antal Doráti, (Mercury Records)
Ancient Airs and Dances I-III (Antiche Aire e Danze) – National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/ Rico Saccani, (Naxos)
I Pini di Roma/Fontane di Roma/The Birds (Gli Uccelli) – London Symphony Orchestra/ István Kertész, (Decca)
Church Windows (Vetrate di Chiesa) – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/ Jesus Lopez-Cobos, (Telarc)
Three Botticelli Pictures (Trittico Botticelliano)/The Birds – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra/ Sir Neville Marriner, (EMI Classics)
Belkis, Queen of Sheba – Suite / Metamorphoseon – Theme & Variations – Philharmonia Orchestra/Geoffrey Simon, (Chandos)
Suite in G for Organ and Strings – Robert Boughen / Queensland Symphony Orchestra / Vanco Cavdarski, (ABC Classics)
Pines of Rome/ Fountains of Rome/ Metamorphoseon Modi XII – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Jesús López-Cobos (Telarc)