Bologna, 1879 – Roma, 1936

Ottorino Respighi

Ottorino Respighi (Bologna, 1879 – Rome, 1936) began his studies with his father who was an organist and went on to study with Giuseppe Martucci at the Conservatorio di Bologna. Together with Alfredo Casella, Gian Francesco Malipiero and Franco Alfano the ‘generation 80’ group was formed, together becoming better known and more frequently performed. His years in Russia as principal violin of the Theatre of St Petersburg (where he studied with great orchestrator Rimskiy-Korsakov) were very important for his education. So too was his time in Berlin where he met Ferrucio Busoni and studied with Max Bruch. He moved to Rome in 1913 where he lived and died. Here he was a teacher and director of the Conservatorio di Santa Cicilia. He shared with Pizzetti a passion for Italian music from the 1500-1700s, which he masterfully revisits in his orchestral transcriptions (think, the series of Antiche arie e danze per liuto, or the lovely suite: Gli uccelli (Birds)). He transcribed in a way that remained unsurpassed by Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux or the piano pieces of Rossini (for the ballet La bouqique fantastique). Among his most famous works are the Roman trilogy of symphonic poems: Le fontane di Roma (1916), I pini di Roma (1924) e Feste romane (1928). Respighi was a prolific composer, always maintaining the highest standards. Among his many symphonic works we can find: Concerto in A minor for piano and orchestra (1902), Concerto in A major for violin and orchestra (1903). In addition to those already mentioned we find: Le fontane di Roma, symphonic poem sinfonico for orchestra (1916), and the Antiche arie e danze per liuto (all three suites), for orchestra (1917, 1923, 1931); Concerto gregoriano for violin and orchestra (1921), Concerto in modo misolidio for piano and orchestra (1925), Rossiniana, suite for orchestra from Les riens by Rossini (1925), Vetrate di chiesa, four symphonic impressions (1926), Trittico botticelliano for small orchestra (1927), Impressioni brasiliane, suite on Brazilian themes for orchestra (1928), Gli uccelli, suite for small orchestra (1928), Metamorphoseon – Modi XII, theme and variations for orchestra (1930). His chamber music repertoire is also fantastic, consisting of various quartets (the famous Doric quartet for strings in 1924, the Quartet in D minor for strings in 1909), Quintet in F minor for Piano and Strings in 1902, Double Quartet in D minor for two string quartets in 1900, the beautiful Sonata in B minor for violin and piano of 1916, and Three Preludes on Gregorian melodies for piano from 1921. He has a fruitful selection of vocal music with texts by Dannunzio, Shelley, Maeterlink etc. Parts of the ballets and plays he composed are still performed today, including La boutique fantastique, ballet on themes of Rossini from 1918 and La bella dormente nel bosco, a musical fairy tale in three acts from 1933.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *