Italian composer Ottorino Respighi's name is almost synonymous with his wildly popular set of three orchestral suites referred to collectively as the Roman Trilogy. Regrettably, many of his numerous other orchestral compositions are rarely heard in the concert hall and are infrequently recorded. Naxos does listeners a great service by demonstrating the value of Respighi's other masterful orchestral works to listeners. Church Windows, probably the most recognizable work outside of the Roman Trilogy, was brought about through Respighi's interest in the use of modes in Gregorian chant. Interestingly, the titles and descriptions of these four movements were written after the music was completed. The effortless transition between the heavy, earnestness of Church Windows and the light, relaxed, folksy feel of Brazilian Impressions is a testament to Respighi's far-reaching versatility. Wrapping up the program is Rossiniana, an orchestral suite lifted from an earlier piano composition. Although containing Rossini's name, the composition is not based on the opera composer's works, but rather the sensibilities and characteristics found in Rossini's music. Performing all of these works is the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta. Overall, their efforts are quite solid. There are some occasional ensemble difficulties, particularly in the sometimes unwieldy brass section of Church Windows, when all of the rhythms across the orchestra are not completely lined up. However, intonation and sound quality are both quite good, and Falletta does a satisfactory job of capturing the varying characters of the three compositions.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows), 4 impressions for orchestra, P. 150|
|Impressione brasiliane (Brazilian Impressions), for orchestra, P. 153|
|Rossiniana, original music by Rossini arranged for orchestra, P. 148|