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This review is from: Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances 1 & 3, Three Botticelli Pictures, The Birds (Audio CD)
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was an innovative composer who sought a happy balance between the modernist styles of Debussy and Ravel with Romantic, Rennaissance, and Greco-Roman styles. This album is a good example of his original style performed here to perfection by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
'The Birds' is a lyrical piece expressing images of various birds. The lightness of the piece makes one feel like their flying and the pieces try to create an image of the birds with instruments plucking to imitate the motions of a chicken for example. The Ancient 'Airs and Dances' is simply a transcription of Italian Rennaissance dances performed with modern and romantic styles. The 'Three Botticelli Pictures' is also a lyrical arrangement trying to represent the scenes depicted on the paintings. 'The Spring' of course tries to conjure an image of nymphs and zephyrs moving about in pastoral joy. The work 'The Adoration of the Magi' depicts the nativity scene and is a very measured piece. It is slow and melodic and the inclusion of Greco-Roman styles adds to the sense of mystery and distance somewhere in the East. The last piece, 'The Birth of Venus' depicts the godess Venus rising from her shell and coming to to the gentle shore. The vascillating strings give the impression of water rippling on the shore. The harp adds a sensation of divinity, grace, and beauty. All of these are wonderful pieces are very light and joyful to the ear.
The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performs these works to absolute perfection and I can find nothing bad to say about either this performance or the recording. The sound quality is simply amazing in its clarity and volume. This is a great album for anyone's collection.