Ancient Airs and Dances

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Ancient Airs and Dances (Italian: Antiche arie e danze) is a set of three orchestral suites by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. In addition to being a renowned composer and conductor, Respighi was also a notable musicologist. His interest in Italian music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries led him to compose works inspired by the music of these periods.

Suite No. 1 (1917)[edit]

Ancient Airs, Suite No. 1




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Suite No. 1 was composed in 1917. It was based on Renaissance lute pieces by Simone Molinaro, Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei) and additional anonymous composers.

  1. Balletto, "Il Conte Orlando"
  2. Gagliarda
  3. Villanella
  4. Passo mezzo e mascherada

Suite No. 2 (1923)[edit]

Suite No. 2 was composed in 1923. It was based on pieces for lute, archlute, and viol by Fabritio Caroso, Jean-Baptiste Besard, Bernardo Gianoncelli, and an anonymous composer. It also includes an aria attributed to Marin Mersenne.

  1. Laura soave
  2. Danza rustica
  3. Campanae parisienses & Aria
  4. Bergamasca

Suite No. 3 (1932)[edit]

Suite No. 3 was composed in 1932. It differs from the previous two suites in that it is arranged for strings only and somewhat melancholy in overall mood. It is based on lute songs by Besard, a piece for baroque guitar by Ludovico Roncalli, and lute pieces by Santino Garsi da Parma and additional anonymous composers.

  1. Italiana (Anonymous: Italiana (Fine sec.XVI) - Andantino)
  2. Arie di corte (Jean-Baptiste Besard: Arie di corte (Sec.XVI) - Andante cantabile - Allegretto - Vivace - Slow with great expression - Allegro vivace - Vivacissimo - Andante cantabile)
  3. Siciliana (Anonymous: Siciliana (Fine sec.XVI) - Andantino)
  4. Passacaglia (Lodovico Roncalli: Passacaglia (1692) - Maestoso - Vivace)

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