Respighi: Pines of Rome; Fountains of Rome; The Birds; Botticelli Triptych; Roman Festivals; Ancient Airs and Dances

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COMPOSERS: Respighi
LABELS: Decca Double Decca
WORKS: Pines of Rome; Fountains of Rome; The Birds; Botticelli Triptych; Roman Festivals; Ancient Airs and Dances
PERFORMER: Various conductors & orchestras
CATALOGUE NO: 443 759-2 ADD/DDD (1965-83)
Few would dispute that these generously filled discs offer the best of Respighi’s orchestral output, but Decca’s decision to share the performances amongst so many different interpreters inevitably results in variable standards of execution. Ansermet’s 1963 recording of Fountains, for example, suffers from scrawny orchestral playing and constricted sound, whilst Dutoit’s Roman Festivals, though spectacularly played and recorded, seems underpowered in the final section. Nonetheless, there are also some very impressive things here – Kertész’s The Birds is delivered with virtuosity and irresistible humour, Maazel secures a wonderfully atmospheric ambience in the Pines and, setting aside a few irritating mannerisms, López-Cobos inspires committed playing from the LPO in the Ancient Airs and Dances. Erik Levi

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