Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy – Respighi: Roman Trilogy (2005/2013) [e-Onkyo FLAC 24/96]

Ottorino Respighi – Roman Trilogy – Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy (2005/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:02:56 minutes | 1,22 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | © Exton / Octavia Records Inc., Japan
Recorded: 29, 30 Mar. 2004, 25 Apr. 2005, Studio of RFO Holland, MCO, Hilversum. Mixed and Mastered at Exton Studio, Yokohama

Of all Respighi’s vibrantly orchestrated works, the so-called Roman Trilogy — and in particular the Pines of Rome — is by far the best known and most frequently performed. Respighi was a keen observer of nature and his surroundings and translated these observations into highly evocative, descriptive tone poems. He was also rather taken by ancient music and instruments, and included glimpses of early music modes and even scored Pines for six “bucinae” (ancient Roman trumpets), though they are rarely used in modern performance. The present Exton recording features Vladimir Ashkenazy leading the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. Ashkenazy’s vision of the Roman Trilogy is not exceptionally different from many other recordings available. Apart from an occasional slower-than-expected choice of tempo is an enjoyably solid, straightforward performance. Some of the more exposed passages for the violins reveal a bit of an issue with intonation and ensemble, but this does not greatly detract from the generally polished performance. What does set this recording apart from others is its sound quality. If ever there was an orchestral piece that would benefit from multichannel playback, it’s Pines and the rest of the Trilogy. Listeners enjoying the five-channel DSD SACD layer will be immersed in sound as close to a live performance as could be expected. The robust, powerful brass playing surrounds you, and the deep, forceful organ entrances are enough to vibrate the walls. The sound quality on the standard two-channel track is still clear and rich, but lacks that special encompassing nature found only on the multichannel track. –AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell

Tracklist:

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)
Roman Trilogy
1. Pini di Roma (The Pines of Rome), Symphonic Poem, P. 141 22:07
— I. The Pine-Trees of the Villa Borghese 2:36
— II. The Pine-Trees Near a Catacomb 7:05
— III. The Pine-Trees of the Janiculum 7:03
— IV. The Pine-Trees of the Appian Way 5:23
2. Fontane di Roma (The Fountains of Rome), Symphonic Poem, P. 106 16:40
— I. The Fountain of Valle Giulia at Dawn 4:30
— II. The Triton Fountain in the Morning 2:29
— III. The Fountain of Trevi at Midday 3:31
— IV. The Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset 6:10
3. Feste romane (Roman Festivals), Symphonic Poem, P. 157 24:04
— I. Circus Maximus 4:53
— II. The Jubilee 6:14
— III. The October Festival 7:58
— IV. The Epiphany 4:59

Personnel:
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor

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