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Respighi: Concerto in Modo Misolidio / Fontane Di Roma

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 28, 2010
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Product Details

  • Performer: Olli Mustonen
  • Orchestra: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sakari Oramo
  • Composer: Ottorino Respighi
  • Audio CD (September 28, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B003X859P2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,235 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Having admired Respighi's violin concerto, the Concerto Gregoriano, for years, I was eager to hear his piano concerto, the Concerto in modo misolidio (Concerto in the Mixolydian Mode). It is written in one of the old church modes, in this case the one whose scale runs from G to G' (with an F substituted for the expected F sharp) and is based to a large extent on the plainsong introit for Ascension, 'Viri Galilaei' ('Ye men of Galilee'). It is a large work and, I must say, my initial impression (and indeed my final impression) is that the concerto, while it has many beautiful moments, tends to be discursive, even unfocused at times, and occasionally emptily bombastic. Its thirty-eight minutes seem too long for its rhapsodic content. However, the performance by pianist Olli Mustonen and the Finnish Radio Orchestra under Sakari Oramo is all one could ask. I was not terribly impressed by the only other CD featuring Mustonen I've heard, a disc containing music by Alkan and Shostakovich Piano Works, but he certainly performs creditably in the Respighi.

The rather short-timed (53'48") disc is filled out by an acceptable but by no means superior performance of one of Respighi's most-played and -recorded works, his Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome). It seems a bit undercharacterized. I was imprinted on Toscanini's very atmospheric recording with the NBC Symphony from 1950 and have never found one I liked decidedly better, although it is hampered by its ancient sound. But there are certainly excellent recordings by others in much more modern sound.
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I had no idea that Respighi had written a Piano Concerto, much less one written in a mode from an earlier time. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of a work that I didn't know. The second work on the CD is an old friend, and the performance was well done.
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Respighi: Concerto in Modo Misolidio / Fontane Di Roma
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