Ottorino Respighi

Pini di Roma (The Pines of Rome), symphonic poem, P. 141

    Description by Uncle Dave Lewis

    Pines of Rome (Pini di Roma) is chronologically the second installment in Italian composer Ottorino Respighi's "Roman trilogy." It is a symphonic tone poem scored for a very large orchestra and cast in four movements, the musical content being representative of a literary plan. In Pines of Rome, Respighi succeeds spectacularly, producing a colorful and exciting montage of impressions that capture the imagination without wandering or becoming digressive.

    "The Pines at the Villa Borghese" depicts a scene at a once-private resort, and Respighi's music captures the energy and irreverence of children at play, including a discordant trumpet "raspberry" towards the end. This is contrasted by an austere phrase of plainchant that begins "The Pines near the Catacombs." Meditative in mood, the movement leads to a climax built around an insistent, repeated figure stated in fifths in the strings. This leads seamlessly into the next section, "Pines of the Janiculum." Opening with a spray of color from the piano, the piece slowly evolves into a beautiful nocturne punctuated by the recorded sound of a nightingale's twittering, in one of the first instances where a recorded sound is specified for a concert score. This movement is successfully "impressionistic" without being particularly "French." "The Pines of the Appian Way" transforms from a slow, mysterious section into a loud, exciting march that evokes Ancient Rome, its gladiators, and its chivalry.

    Italian music lovers in the early twentieth century more strongly resisted modern trends than those of greater Europe, as they were inclined toward opera and generally less enthusiastic about instrumental music. While Respighi was determined to lead Italian audiences, kicking and screaming if necessary, back to instrumental music, a field once dominated by Italian musicians, he was also keenly aware that it would not be an easy struggle. During the preparation of Pines of Rome for its 1924 premiere under conductor Bernardino Molinari, Respighi was quoted "Let them boo...what do I care?" And boo they did, at the raspberries in the "Villa Borghese," and at the sound of the recorded nightingale in the "Janiculum." But the triumphant march that concludes the work won the audience over, and the finale was greeted with an ovation.

    Pines of Rome was soon played to great acclaim in the capitals of Europe, and even became a concert staple in the United States. Famous conductors such as Respighi's friend Toscanini, Koussevitzky, Fritz Reiner, Stokowski, and others, adopted Pines into their repertoires. The entire community of early Hollywood composers owes a huge debt of gratitude to Respighi for Pines and its scoring, which has been, time and again, acknowledged.

    Nonetheless, many critics have condemned Respighi and Pines for being trashy, overblown, ultra-conservative and even fascistic. Time has borne out that Pines of Rome is a work that's here to stay; audiences love it, and it's the sort of work that, with a little effort, can make a good conductor sound like a great one.

    Parts/Movements

    1. I pini di Villa Borghese
    2. I pini presso una catacomba
    3. I pini del Gianicolo
    4. I pini della Via Appia

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2020
    Decca
    4850415
    2020
    Chandos
    CHSA 5261
    2020
    BR Klassik
    BRK 900183
    2019
    Naxos
    8574013
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4797477
    2017
    IDIS
    IDIS 6726
    2016
    Supraphon
    SU 41992
    2016
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4796018
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4794306
    2015
    Helicon Classics
    02.9666
    2015
    Brilliant Classics
    94900
    2014
    Various Artists
    Sony Classical
    88843047122
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4793446
    2014
    Warner Classics
    545082
    2014
    APO (Analogue Production Originals)
    CAPC 2436 SA
    2013
    Decca / Mercury
    4785092
    2013
    Warner Classics
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2012
    Brilliant Classics
    94392
    2011
    Guild / Guild
    GHCD2368
    2011
    Altissimo
    60882
    2011
    Urania
    WS121.111
    2011
    Newton Classics
    8802048
    2011
    Onyx
    ONYX 4083
    2011
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099909798823
    2011
    Warner Classics
    2011
    MDG
    MDG 93716776
    2011
    Altissimo
    ALT 63492
    2010
    BIS
    1720
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Klavier Records
    11182
    2010
    Exton
    00217
    2010
    Apex
    2010
    Decca
    4800024
    2010
    Classic Records
    2015
    2010
    Urania
    121104
    2010
    Dorian
    92109
    2009
    EMI Classics
    2009
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099923767
    2008
    Various Artists
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099921750
    2008
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    8011
    2008
    Medici Arts
    22
    2008
    Apex
    4696152
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951203
    2008
    Various Artists
    Decca
    443759
    2008
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    727987
    2007
    Urania
    URN 22339
    2007
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    0946394429
    2007
    Exton
    217
    2006
    Brilliant
    7565
    2006
    RCA Red Seal
    71614
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4775254
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution
    86641
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    7243586549
    2005
    Warner Music
    4619542
    2004
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH04015
    2004
    Rca Red Seal
    82876608692
    2004
    Vanguard
    ATMCD1227
    2003
    Mark Custom Recording
    4867
    2002
    AIX Entertainment
    80006
    2002
    Disney
    0927445152
    2002
    Sony Music
    48267
    2002
    Telarc Distribution
    80085
    2002
    Chandos
    10035
    2002
    Mark Custom Recording
    4363
    2001
    Iron Needle
    1335
    2001
    Music & Arts
    1062
    2001
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    469 181-2GP2
    2001
    Delos
    3287
    2001
    JVC Compact Discs
    8
    2001
    Unesco
    70722
    2001
    History
    204573
    2000
    T-Rax
    29
    2000
    Decca
    466993
    2000
    Telarc Distribution
    80505
    2000
    Deutsche Grammophon
    453191
    1999
    Walt Disney / Disney
    860986
    1999
    Walt Disney
    #860 986
    1999
    Walt Disney / Disney
    860986
    1999
    Rene Gailly
    87157
    1999
    BBC Legends / BBC Music
    40072
    1999
    Deutsche Grammophon
    453 190-2GH2
    1998
    Sony Classical
    SMK-60174
    1998
    Angel Records
    66864
    1997
    HR-Musik
    70062
    1997
    Deutsche Grammophon
    449724
    1997
    EMI Music Distribution
    55600
    1997
    Conifer
    75605 51292-2
    1996
    Naxos
    8553245
    1996
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    7243569358
    1996
    Doyen
    DOYCD 045
    1995
    Originals
    860
    1995
    Dorian
    90182
    1995
    RCA Victor
    68079
    1995
    Vanguard
    EVC9018
    1994
    BMG
    62675
    1994
    Naxos
    550539
    1994
    EMI Music Distribution
    65427
    1993
    Deutsche Grammophon
    437534
    1993
    Naxos
    550539
    1992
    Chandos
    8989
    1992
    SBK Records
    48267
    1991
    Chesky Records
    18
    1990
    Mercury
    432007
    1990
    Mercury
    1990
    EMI Music Distribution
    47316
    1987
    Deutsche Grammophon
    415846
    1984
    Decca
    1983
    London
    410145
    RCA
    72374
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Artists
    34
    Smithsonian Records
    103
    Memories
    4428/29
    Memories
    4428
    Mark Custom Recording
    1650
    Bridge
    Quintessence
    2108
    Davidoff Classic
    14
    Various Artists
    All Russia
    White Label
    168
    RCA Silver Seal
    60486
    EMI Music Distribution
    69826
    London
    444106
    Reference Recordings
    95
    Philips
    432133
    Philharmonia of the Nations
    47
    Warner Music
    Bescol
    521
    RCA
    61401
    Deutsche Grammophon
    413822
    RCA
    5407
    Alfa
    1010
    Teldec
    18970
    Teldec
    9031762632
    RCA
    60262
    BBC Music Magazine
    277
    Pro-Arte Records
    325
    Intersound
    3515
    Sophia Pallas and Julian Trail
    EMI Classics
    698555
    Arkadia
    487
    IMG Artists
    100
    Legend
    138
    History
    204576
    As Disc
    600
    EMI Music Distribution
    65915