Olli Mustonen / Sakari Oramo / Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Ottorino Respighi: Concerto in Modo Misolidio; Fontane di Roma

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Of Ottorino Respighi's vast output, only a handful are commonly played today. The so-called "Roman Trilogy" certainly tops the list of his most familiar, popular works. On the other end of the continuum is the Concerto in modo misolidio, a piano concerto in the mixolydian mode. Why this riveting work is not played more often is anyone's guess. It incorporates Respighi's innate talents as a master orchestrator, his deference to classical forms (in this case, the three-movement concerto format), and his love of ancient music and modes. The basis for the concerto is an excerpt from a plainchant mass, which is included in this album's informative liner notes. The solo piano part is at times muscular, tender, independent, and delicately intertwined with the lush orchestral part. Pianist Olli Mustonen joins the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo for this commanding, convincing performance of this woefully neglected work. Mustonen and Oramo bring the score to life, highlighting Respighi's careful interplay between piano and orchestra with well-planned balance and seamless dialogue. The album continues with an equally polished performance of Fontane di Roma -- part of the Roman Trilogy -- making this album suitable for those already familiar with Respighi's works and newcomers as well. Ondine's sound is clear and vibrant, placing listeners in the center of Respighi's lavish soundscape.

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