Tone Poem Tuesday

I know I’ve featured this work before, but it’s so good that it bears returning once in a while. Ottorino Resphigi was an Italian composer most active in the early 20th century, but he wasn’t much of a modernist: he preferred to cloak musical forms from the Baroque eras and before in the more modern sounds of the Romantic orchestra and harmonies. As such, Resphigi turned out music that sounds compulsively fresh no matter how many times I listen to it. His tone poem The Pines of Rome takes its genesis from the great pine trees to be found in that city, and the movements are of interesting character. The first is playful, while the second takes a solemn turn that suggests the orders of a Catholic monastery. In the third movement we have an atmospheric nocturne that features, towards its end, a bit of recorded birdsong; and then in the fourth movement there is dawn and powerful culminating triumph.

Resphigi’s music is atmospheric and impressionistic, and though it doesn’t quite abide with memorable melodies, it is full of what Wagner might call “melodic moments of feeling”. This is music of power and mystery and pure magic. Here is Ottorino Resphigi’s The Pines of Rome.

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