Respighi Publications

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Introduction to the Ottorino Respighi Publications
First Printed Editions of Respighi’s rediscovered early music!

276In 2008, Ottorino Respighi’s great nieces Elsa and Gloria Pizzoli and archive curator/cataloger Potito Pedarra entrusted composer/conductor Salvatore Di Vittorio with the task of editing, orchestrating and completing (as needed) several early orchestral works of Respighi for publication – in their first printed editions, as well as premieres and recordings with the Chamber Orchestra of New York and other orchestras worldwide. As part of the commission, Di Vittorio was invited to complete Respighi’s rediscovered first Violin Concerto (in A Major) and other unfinished works.

These critical editions have been registered with SIAE in Rome, Italy – following a stringent committee panel review of original manuscripts and newly-printed scores.

Tre Liriche, per mezzosoprano e orchestra, P. 99a
Respighi (Orchestration Completed by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 10′
Instrumentation: 3,3,2,2;2,0,3,1;1perc;cel;hp;str; mezzo-soprano

Program Notes:
The Tre Liriche (Three Art Songs) include Notte (Night), Nebbie (Fog) and Pioggia (Rain), which Respighi had originally set as separate works for mezzo and piano between 1906 and 1912. He then decided to orchestrate the three songs as a song cycle in 1913 – the same year of its world premiere with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome. Luciano Pavarotti had championed two of the three songs in the 1970s. Potito Pedarra himself, the cataloguer of Respighi’s works, then rediscovered the lost (incomplete) opus with all three songs in the 1990s, well after the publication of his Respighi works list. Pedarra then numbered the rediscovered opus as Tre Liriche, P. 99a.

On the advice of Respighi cataloguer Potito Pedarra, Maestro Di Vittorio has completed Respighi’s orchestration of the extant orchestral manuscript in anticipation of its 100th anniversary. The work will be published with Edizioni Panastudio in Italy in 2013.

Il Lamento di Arianna, per mezzosoprano e orchestra, P. 88
dall’opera “Arianna”
Monteverdi – Respighi (Edited by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 8′
Instrumentation: 3,3,0,2;0,3,3,1;hp;str; mezzo-soprano

Program Notes:
The Lamento di Arianna (Ariadne’s Lament) was world premiered in 1908 by the Berlin Philharmonic under conductor Artur Nikisch. Not to be mistaken with other Monteverdi works of the same name, this Lamento is the only extant music from Monteverdi’s lost second opera “Arianna”. Monteverdi later used the music including the now famous “lasciatemi morire” motif in three other works of the same name, including the well-known madrigal Lamento di Arianna which is part of his Madrigals Book VI.

Respighi’ masterful orchestration of Lamento is here restored and edited by Salvatore Di Vittorio.

Serenata per piccola orchestra, P. 54
Respighi (Edited by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 4′
Instrumentation: 1,1,1,0;0,0,0,0; str

Program Notes:
Unlike the more austere Respighi works, this is a short captivating concert appetizer which shows the more lighthearted side of Respighi. As his first serious work for small orchestra, the Serenata is considered a precursor of Respighi’s later, more famous works “per piccola ochestra” such as Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Pictures) and Gli Uccelli (The Birds). It is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet and strings.

Suite in Sol Maggiore, per archi ed organo, P. 58
Respighi (Edited by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 23′
Instrumentation: str; solo organ

Program Notes:
This is the first printed critical edition (score and parts) of the original/unedited (23′) version of Respighi’s Suite in Sol Maggiore for strings and organ. The shorter, edited (19′) version is sometimes confused with this original version.

Composed in 1905, Respighi’s Organ Suite is a neo-baroque work and homage to J.S. Bach, Girolamo Frescobaldi and Arcangelo Corelli. Overall, the piece is modeled on the style of the Concerto Grosso, where the organ serves as the concertino (solo) instrument and the strings are the ripieno (ensemble).

The forward momentum of the Preludio first movement (here, in its original longer version) is quite exciting, lush and colorful – giving us a taste of Respighi’s later flair for stout orchestration, with trills abound. The second movement Aria, which was originally composed as a one movement work in 1901, is here transcribed by Respighi to include organ. Respighi clearly loved this music, for he also included the one movement Aria in another work the same year, his Suite for Flute and strings No. 2. This expressive ‘aria di chiesa’-styled work is quite lyrical, yet simple and well-balanced in form. In addition, the music is remarkably poignant – if not dramatic – for such an early piece of Respighi. It demonstrates Respighi’s natural ability for romantic gestures and evolving dynamics.

The influences stemming principally from Frescobaldi become more apparent as the music unfolds in later movements, Pastorale and Cantico. Frescobaldi’s madrigal-like melodies with simple textures in minor, together with a mix of chromaticism and use of embellished ornamentations clearly inspired the young Ottorino Respighi. Several Frescobaldi works come to mind for this particular comparison. The Ricercare in Frescobaldi’s Mass of the Virgin, as one example, highlights the kind of devices present in Respighi’s Organ Suite. Frescobaldi used a typical monothematic theme with chromatic subject, together filled with moments of augmentation and an ever-present pedal note passage near final cadences. All of these characteristics are also made available in the variety of Toccatas in Frescobaldi’s highly influential work Fiori Musicali.

It was well known by Respighi’s time that certain pieces from Fiori Musicali exemplified great musical achievement, and were thus used as models in Johann Joseph Fux’s 18th century composition treatise Gradus ad Parnassum – the most important textbook for composers. And Frescobaldi’s influence on the young Respighi is quite noticeable here as a result. Frescobaldi’s Toccata Avanti la Messa Della Domenica from Fiori Musicali is another wonderful testament of the combined influences manifested in Respighi’s Organ Suite. Frescobaldi’s modal awareness and incessant nature for clarity of line, that is, the simple ascending or descending flow of melodies – at times, occurring in sixths, are in full display here.

As a whole, the Organ Suite is a wonderful accomplishment for Ottorino Respighi, as it cultivates his musical instincts and further refines his ideals for orchestration and melody for years to come.

Suite per archi, P. 41
Respighi (Revised by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 25′
Instrumentation: str
Program Notes:

The Suite per archi dates to 1902, and was composed in six movements in the style of the Baroque.

The Ciaccona begins in a reflective manner, a bold and serious music, with an underlying harmonic progression (as with the Baroque chaconne), before shifting to more quick tempi for its remaining variations. The Siciliana, second movement, is light and graceful with its pastoral almost jig-like dance, high soaring notes and melodic turns.

The Giga immediately establishes its quick meter in a scurry of counterpoint. Although an early work of Respighi, the middle section of this movement foreshadows the composer’s later use of trills and tremolos as key effects throughout the orchestra. Nonetheless, with all the excitement in the music, Respighi’s lyricism commands control over all other aspects of his composition. His gift of lyricism is perhaps even more apparent in the Sarabande, with its ever-present tied beats and other sustained sounds. The five movement Burlesca remains playful from beginning to end, rich of ornamentation and introduces the finale Rigaudon – which interupts the previous music with a lively duple meter and declamatory melodies.

The Suite for strings not only introduces us to an incredibly exciting music, which Respighi considered his own Baroque style treatment and homage to the string music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), but also allows us keen insight of the master who later composed the well-received Ancient Airs and Dances No. 3 for strings. In effect, the Suite remains a precursor to the third Ancient Airs Suite.

Aria per archi, P. 32
Respighi (Transcribed by Di Vittorio)
Duration: 6′
Instrumentation: str

Program Notes:
Respighi’s Aria per archi, a one movement work, dates to 1901. The Aria was also included as one of the final movements of Respighi’s Suite No. 2 for flute and strings (1906).

This beautiful Aria clearly shows Respighi’s affection for the music and composers of the Baroque, especially Vivaldi, Corelli and Frescobaldi. The work is a towering lyrical statement by the young Respighi, who was only at the threshold of what would become a prolific output of 180 works, over 36 transcriptions and several dozen unpublished and unfinished works.

Di Vittorio has recently transcribed the Aria for publication, making the work accessible for not only string orchestra but string quintet, so that it may be performed more regularly at music conservatories and schools worldwide.

Concerto per Violino (in La Maggiore), P. 49
Respighi – Di Vittorio
Duration: 21′
Instrumentation: 2,2,2,2;4,2;timp;str;solo violino

This is the rediscovered first Violin Concerto of Ottorino Respighi.

Program Notes:
In 2008, Potito Pedarra (Respighi family archive curator) acknowledged Di Vittorio’s inherent musical connection with Ottorino Respighi, and with the Respighi heirs invited the Maestro to complete Respighi’s first (unknown) Concerto per Violino (in La Maggiore).

Left unfinished in 1903, the Concerto per Violino pre-dates Respighi’s three completed violin concerti: Concerto all’antica (in A minor) in 1908, Concerto Gregoriano in 1921, and the single movement Poema Autunnale in 1925. This Violin Concerto not only foreshadows the later Respighi known for Pines of Rome, but harks back to the concerto writing of such masters as Vivaldi if not Mendelssohn.

As for the original manuscript, Respighi had completed the first two movements and begun the third movement in piano reduction, with only a few measures orchestrated.

Di Vittorio maintains the nature and musical integrity of the work, which Respighi himself had demonstrated through his original manuscripts. The third movement is modeled as a sort of rondo of musical ideas, culminating from the first two movements. Respighi had already inspired this by creating a third movement principal theme which closely resembled the thematic material of his first movement. With this in mind, Di Vittorio extends the introductory theme along with others from earlier movements, through a series of developing variations and reinvention.

The concluding work embraces Respighi’s vision. And historically, Respighi’s ending in the first movement foreshadows the great master’s later orchestral colors, trills and fanfares, in his arguably greatest work, Pines of Rome.

Overtura Respighiana
Di Vittorio (after Respighi)
Duration: 7′
Instrumentation: 2,2,2,2;2,2,3,1;1timp,2perc;cel;hp,str

This is part of the Ottorino Respighi Publications Series, but not a critical edition. It is an homage to Respighi by Di Vittorio, dedicated to Respighi’s family.

Program Notes:
Overtura Respighiana was composed in 2008, one year before Di Vittorio’s completion of Ottorino Respighi’s rediscovered first Violin Concerto – the latter, a commission which he received from Respighi’s family descendants and leading archive curator in Italy.

The work served two purposes: first, an homage not only to Ottorino Respighi but his homage works on Gioacchino Rossini (namely La Boutique Fantasque and Rossiniana); second, a personal thank you to Respighi’s family for their permission to honor Respighi’s name and entrusting Di Vittorio with the editing and completion of several early Respighi manuscripts for publication (in their first printed editions), premieres and recordings with the orchestra that now bares his name Chamber Orchestra of New York “Ottorino Respighi”.

Overtura Respighiana was thereby dedicated to Respighi’s great nieces Elsa & Gloria Pizzoli on the occasion of Respighi’s birth anniversary on July 9th in 2008.

Di Vittorio’s initial plans for the overture began with a reworking of Respighi’s above transcriptions of Rossini’s piano music, Les Riens. During the compositional process, he realized a musical connection between the final movement Elegy of his own Sinfonia No. 2 and Respighi’s introduction of Pines of Rome. There was a strong resemblance between his variation on an Italian nursery rhyme at the ending of his Sinfonia and Respighi’s ‘children’s theme’ at the beginning of his Pines.

The Overture begins with a reflection on Pines of Rome, citing a reinvention of the principal elements of Rossiniana and the ending of Sinfonia No. 2. Di Vittorio’s goal for the introduction was to capture Respighi’s orchestral aesthetic at the beginning of Pines, but with entirely different and original motives and melodies. At first listening, the notes may seem quite similar, but they are not. Each orchestral line of the introduction is in fact original, not borrowed out of Pines. Only the choices and placements of instruments remain similar, not the melodies.

Through a series of fanfares, the music leads to a variation of the March from La Boutique Fantasque. Though this section remains the most similar in its reinvention, every single motive has been reworked to achieve varied harmonies – a playful reconstruction. A brief sarabande interrupts, which introduces an entirely new Renaissance-styled melody, only inspired from the Valse Lente movement of La Boutique. Looking back, one may hear echoes of Hector Berlioz if not Richard Strauss colors and effects throughout the orchestration. This is the most deeply reflective moment of the Overture. Through musical interruptions which serve as reminders of the work’s powerful introduction, we are led to a happy tarantella dance alla Rossini. Using similar ornamentation as Rossini overtures, this Overture ends with a full-fledged Rossini rocket or crescendo effect. The tarantella melody is entirely original, though somewhat inspired by the noted nursery rhyme motif in Di Vittorio’s Sinfonia No. 2. The same may be said of the related French horn motif at the beginning of the Overture, also original. The coda is a return of the middle section sarabande, in tutti.

Overtura Respighiana thereby fuses Gioacchino Rossini’s influence on Ottorino Respighi, with both of their influences on Di Vittorio’s own orchestral musical language.

Scores in the Ottorino Respighi Publications series are also listed in Orchestral Music: A Handbook by David Daniels – classic repertoire reference work used by conductors, orchestras, musicians, and musicologists throughout the world. Available in hard copy and online by Scarecrow Press.