Respighi: Pines of Rome; Fountains of Rome; Roman Festivals

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Pines of Rome; Fountains of Rome; Roman Festivals
PERFORMER: London Philharmonic/Carlo Rizzi
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97438-2 DDD (1993)
Respighi’s scenic views of Rome are frequently disparaged for their literalism (notably the recorded nightingale chanting gramophonically amidst the pines), but no one can deny the superb orchestral technique which has endeared them to conductors from Toscanini on (and down). Pines may have its moments of near-vulgarity, and Festivals its unintentionally comic touches (those lions roaring as they prepare to chomp the early Christians), but Fountains is a masterpiece of sensuousness and colour. Rizzi enters into the spirit of all three, and draws playing from the London Philharmonic aptly of showpiece standard. There’s a good deal of freshness and detail in the recording. George Hall