Ottorino Respighi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ottorino Respighi

Ottorino Respighi (Italian: [ottoˈriːno resˈpiːɡi]; 9 July 1879 – 18 April 1936) was an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. He is best known for his orchestral music, particularly the three Roman tone poems: Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma), Pines of Rome (I pini di Roma), and Roman Festivals (Feste romane). His musicological interest in 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century music led him to compose pieces based on the music of these periods. He also wrote a number of operas, the most famous of which is La fiamma.

Biography[edit]

Ottorino Respighi was born in Bologna, Italy. He was taught piano and violin by his father, who was a local piano teacher. He went on to study 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. A year after receiving his diploma in violin in 1899, 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 then returned to Bologna, where he earned a second diploma in composition. Until 1908 his principal activity was as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet. In 1908-09 he spent some time performing in Germany before returning to Italy and turning his attention entirely to composition. Many sources indicate that while he was in Germany, he studied briefly with Max Bruch, but in her biography of the composer, Respighi's wife asserts that this is not the case.[1]

During the second decade of the twentieth century, Respighi was active as a performer and composer. His compositions began to draw attention, and in 1913 he was appointed as teacher of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1917 his international fame began to spread through multiple performances of the first of his Roman orchestral tone poems, Fountains of Rome. In 1919 he married a former pupil, the singer Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo. From 1923 to 1926 he was director of the Conservatorio. In 1925 he collaborated with Sebastiano Arturo Luciani on an elementary textbook entitled Orpheus. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Italy in 1932.

A visit to Brazil resulted in the composition Impressioni brasiliane (Brazilian Impressions). He had intended to write a sequence of five pieces, but by 1928 he had completed only three, and decided to present what he had. Its first performance was in 1928 in Rio de Janeiro. The first piece, "Tropical Night", is a nocturne with fragments of dance rhythms suggested by the sensuous textures. The second piece is a sinister picture of a snake research institute, Instituto Butantan, that Respighi visited in São Paulo, with hints of birdsong (as in Pines of Rome). The final movement is a vigorous and colorful Brazilian dance.

On the ship back home from Brazil, Respighi met by chance with Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. During their long conversation, Fermi tried to get Respighi to explain music in terms of physics, which Respighi was unable to do. They remained close friends until Respighi's death in 1936.[2]

Apolitical in nature, Respighi attempted to steer a neutral course after Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922. His established international fame allowed him some level of freedom but at the same time encouraged the regime to exploit his music for political purposes. Respighi vouched for more outspoken critics such as Arturo Toscanini, allowing them to continue to work under the regime.[3]

Feste Romane, the third of his Roman tone poems, was premiered by Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1929; Toscanini recorded the music twice for RCA Victor, first with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1942 and then with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1949. Respighi's music had considerable success in the USA: the Toccata for piano and orchestra was premiered (with Respighi as soloist) under Willem 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.

Respighi was an enthusiastic scholar of Italian music of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. He published editions of the music of Claudio Monteverdi and Antonio Vivaldi, and of Benedetto Marcello's Didone. His work in this area influenced his later compositions and led to a number of works based on early music, such as his three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances. In his Neoclassical works, Respighi generally kept clear of the musical idiom of the classical period, preferring to combine pre-classical melodic styles and musical forms (like dance suites) with typical late-19th-century romantic harmonies and textures.

Use of the Phrygian mode on A in Respighi's Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych, 1927).[4] About this sound Play 

He continued to compose and tour until January 1936, after which he became increasingly ill. A cardiac infection led to his death by heart failure on 18 April that year at the age of 56. A year after his burial, his remains were moved to his birthplace, Bologna, and reinterred at the city's expense.

Works[edit]

Opera[edit]

Ballet[edit]

  • La Boutique fantasque (1918), borrows tunes from the 19th century Italian composer Rossini. Premiered in London on 5 June 1919.
  • Sèvres de la vieille France (1920), transcription of 17th-18th century French music
  • La Pentola magica (1920), based on popular Russian themes
  • Scherzo Veneziano (Le astuzie di Columbina) (1920)
  • Belkis, Regina di Saba (1931)

Orchestral[edit]

  • Preludio, corale e fuga (1901)
  • Aria per archi (1901)[5]
  • Leggenda for Violin and Orchestra P 36 (1902)[6]
  • Piano Concerto in A minor (1902)
  • Suite per archi (1902)[7]
  • Humoreske for Violin and Orchestra P 45 (1903)[8]
  • Concerto in la maggiore, for Violin and Orchestra (1903), completed by Salvatore Di Vittorio (2009)[9]
  • Fantasia Slava (1903)
  • Suite in E major (Sinfonia) (1903)
  • Serenata per piccola orchestra (1904)[10]
  • Suite in Sol Maggiore (1905), for organ and strings[11]
  • Ouverture Burlesca (1906)
  • Concerto all'antica for Violin and Orchestra (1908)
  • Ouverture Carnevalesca (1913)
  • Tre Liriche (1913), for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Notte, Nebbie, Pioggia)[12]
  • Sinfonia Drammatica (1914)
  • Fountains of Rome (1916)
  • Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1 (1917), based on Renaissance lute pieces by Simone Molinaro, Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei), and additional anonymous composers.
  • Ballata delle Gnomidi (Dance of the Gnomes) (1920), based on a poem by Claudio Clausetti
  • Adagio con variazioni (1921), for Cello and Orchestra
  • Concerto Gregoriano for Violin and Orchestra (1921)
  • Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 2 (1923), based on pieces for lute, archlute, and viol by Fabritio Caroso, Jean-Baptiste Besard, Bernardo Gianoncelli, and an anonymous composer. It also interpolates an aria attributed to Marin Mersenne.
  • Pines of Rome (1924)
  • Concerto in modo misolidio (Concerto in the Mixolydian mode) (1925)
  • Poema autunnale (Autumn Poem), for Violin and Orchestra (1925)
  • Rossiniana (1925), free transcriptions from Rossini's Quelques riens (from Péchés de vieillesse)
  • Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows) (1926), four movements of which three are based on Tre Preludi sopra melodie gregoriane for piano (1919)
  • Trittico Botticelliano (1927), three movements inspired by Botticelli paintings in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence: La Primavera, L'Adorazione dei Magi, La nascita di Venere; the middle movement uses the well-known tune Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)
  • Impressioni brasiliane (Brazilian Impressions) (1928)
  • The Birds (1928), based on Baroque pieces imitating birds. It comprises Introduzione (Bernardo Pasquini), La Colomba (Jacques de Callot), La Gallina (Jean-Philippe Rameau), L'Usignolo (anonymous English composer of the seventeenth century) and Il Cucu (Pasquini)
  • Toccata for Piano and Orchestra (1928)
  • Roman Festivals (1928)
  • Metamorphoseon (1930)
  • Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3 (1932), 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, lute pieces by Santino Garsi da Parma and additional anonymous composers.
  • Concerto a cinque (Concerto for Five) (1933), for Oboe, Trumpet, Piano, Viola d'amore, Double-bass, and Strings

Vocal/choral[edit]

  • Nebbie (1906), voice and piano
  • Stornellatrice (1906), voice and piano
  • Cinque canti all'antica (1906), voice and piano
  • Il Lamento di Arianna (1908), for mezzo-soprano and orchestra[13]
  • Aretusa (text by Shelley) (1911), cantata for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Tre Liriche (1913), for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Notte, Nebbie, Pioggia)[14]
  • La Sensitiva (The Sensitive Plant, text by Shelley) (1914), for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Il Tramonto (The sunset, text by Shelley) (1914), for mezzo-soprano and string quartet (or string orchestra)
  • Cinque liriche (1917), voice and piano
  • Quattro liriche (Gabriele d'Annunzio) (1920), voice and piano
  • La Primavera (The Spring, texts by Constant Zarian) (1922) lyric poem for soli, chorus and orchestra
  • Deità silvane (Woodland Deities, texts by Antonio Rubino) (1925), song-cycle for soprano and small orchestra
  • Lauda per la Natività del Signore (Laud to the Nativity, text attributed to Jacopone da Todi) (1930), a cantata for three soloists (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor), mixed chorus (including substantial sections for 8-part mixed and TTBB male chorus), and chamber ensemble (woodwinds and piano 4-hands)

Chamber[edit]

  • String Quartet in D major in one movement (undated)
  • String Quartet No. 1 in D major (1892–98)
  • String Quartet No. 2 in B flat major (1898)
  • String Quartet in D major (1907)
  • String Quartet in D minor (1909) subtitled by composer "Ernst ist das Leben, heiter ist die Kunst"
  • Quartetto Dorico or Doric String Quartet (1924)
  • Tre Preludi sopra melodie gregoriane, for piano (1921)
  • Violin Sonata in D minor (1897)
  • Violin Sonata in B minor (1917)
  • Piano Sonata in F minor
  • Variazioni, for guitar
  • Double Quartet in D minor (1901)
  • Piano Quintet in F minor (1902)
  • Six Pieces for Violin and Piano (1901–06)
  • Quartet in D major for 4 Viols (1906)
  • Huntingtower: Ballad for Band (1932)
  • String Quintet for 2 Violins, 1 Viola & 2 Violoncellos in G minor (1901, incomplete)

Biographical sources[edit]

  • Respighi, Elsa (1955) Fifty Years of a Life in Music
  • Respighi, Elsa (1962) Ottorino Respighi, London: Ricordi
  • Nupen, Christopher (director) (1983) Ottorino Respighi: A Dream of Italy, Allegro Films
  • Barrow, Lee G (2004) Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936): An Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press
  • Viagrande, Riccardo, La generazione dell'Ottanta, Casa Musicale Eco, Monza, 2007
  • Daniele Gambaro, Ottorino Respighi. Un'idea di modernità nel Novecento, pp. XII+246, illustrato con esempi musicali, novembre 2011, Zecchini Editore, ISBN 978-88-6540-017-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elsa Respighi, Ottorino Respighi, London, Ricordi, p. 25
  2. ^ Spencer M. Di Scala, Ph.D., President of the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts, in his introduction to a Christmas concert performed by the Italian Music Chorus of the Dante Alighieri Society at the Dante Alighieri Society headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, on December 6, 2009, which included Respighi's Lauda per la Natività del Signore.
  3. ^ Liner notes from RCA Toscanini Edition CD Vol 32 (1990)
  4. ^ Benward & Saker (2009). Music in Theory and Practice: Volume II, p.244. Eighth Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-310188-0.
  5. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Aria per archi, critical edition by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2010
  6. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Leggenda for Violin and Orchestra, critical edition by Roberto Diem Tigani, Nuova Edizione, Roma, 2010, ISMN 979-0-705044-08-9 (full score), ISMN 979-0-705044-09-6 (parts)
  7. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Suite per archi, critical edition by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2010
  8. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Humoreske for violin and orchestra, critical edition by Roberto Diem Tigani, Nuova Edizione, Roma, 2010, ISMN 979-0-705044-06-5 (full score), ISMN 979-0-705044-07-2 (parts)
  9. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Concerto per Violino (in La Maggiore), completed by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2009
  10. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Serenata per piccola orchestra, critical edition by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2012
  11. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Suite in Sol Maggiore, critical edition by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2011
  12. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Tre Liriche, orchestration completed by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2013
  13. ^ Claudio Monteverdi, orchestrated by Ottorino Respighi, Il Lamento di Arianna, critical edition by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2012
  14. ^ Ottorino Respighi, Tre Liriche, orchestration completed by Salvatore Di Vittorio, Edizioni Panastudio, Palermo, 2013

External links[edit]