Why are the new Respighi editions even necessary?

I thought I’d write a few words regarding a recent question which was forwarded to me – and, I admit, it’s a good one. Why are the new Respighi editions even necessary?

The question refers to a recent blog, where I wrote:
“In 2008, I published an homage to Ottorino Respighi called Overtura Respighiana with [publisher] Panastudio. In 2009, I published my completion of Respighi’s first Violin Concerto in A Major, an invitation I had received by the leading Respighi family affiliates. And that publication was followed by my editions of Respighi’s Aria for strings, and Suite for strings in 2010.”

Until 2009, printed editions (meaning professional computer-generated score and parts) of many Respighi early works including the Aria, the Suite, and then incomplete Violin Concerto in A Major did not exist in publication. Only the autograph manuscripts of the Aria and Suite scores were preserved in various Respighi archives in Italy (and with certain older publishers, but never a printed edition!)

For this reason, Respighi’s great nieces and archive cataloger/curator Potito Pedarra recommended that we begin the work of editing these and other early Respighi works for publication, premieres and recordings with the Chamber Orchestra of New York “Ottorino Respighi”, and performances with other orchestras worldwide.

Much of the credit then goes to publisher Francesco Panasci and Edizioni Panastudio (Palermo) for their entrepreneurial vision and courage in establishing the Ottorino Respighi Publications series, thus recognizing the shared efforts of our Orchestra and the Respighi affiliates, supporting the historical significance of Respighi’s early works.

The Suite was only edited for publication. The published score indicates “revisata” which in the Italian publishing world means “edited” not necessarily revised, as has been mistakenly used in its place.

The Aria was slightly transcribed, to be precise in two particular areas, only to allow the work suitable for (not just string orchestra but) string quintet in academic situations – an initiative in itself to promote the work to young musicians in music conservatories.

The Violin Concerto in A Major was left unfinished by Respighi, with the third movement in piano reduction (including solo violin part), and a handful of measures orchestrated. I was given the task of enhancing the orchestration (editing, cleaning up, confirming and at times adding doublings etc) in the first two movements and then completing the third movement following Respighi’s aesthetic, and his vision of a rondo finale.

I hope this answers the question presented. We all look forward to the next set of printed scores in the Ottorino Respighi Publications series.

Salvatore Di Vittorio
Music Director, Chamber Orchestra of NY