Sunday, November 1, 2015

RESPIGHI Metamorphoseon

“Respighi was said not to have rated his Metamorphoseon highly, though it's unclear why. It's even more unclear listening to this excellent new recording, which catches evocatively the work's brooding, murky tints, and its tendency to sudden irruptions of temperament...Neschling and his Liege musicians [are] sharply responsive to Respighi's abrupt flexing of muscle.” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ****

“[Metamorphosen] is dazzlingly done here, with plenty of grace and panache, by Neschling and his Belgian orchestra.” --Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, John Neschling

Three orchestral works by Ottorino Respighi are gathered here. Ballata delle gnomidi (‘The Ballad of the Gnomes’) was composed in 1920 and was inspired by a poem depicting satanic rituals, sexual abandonment and blood sacrifice. The Ballata is here framed by two later and longer works. Respighi composed Metamorphoseon in 1930, for the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and it is in fact something of a concerto for orchestra, the 30-minute long work consisting of a theme and twelve variations or 'modes'. 

The disc closes with the suite from Belkis, Regina di Saba, a full-length ballet depicting the encounter between the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. The original score involved a massive orchestra including zithers, wind machine, choir, soloists and narrator as well as an off-stage brass ensemble, but Respighi omitted the vocal parts and the exotic instruments when he prepared a suite for concert use. John Neschling has previously recorded two acclaimed discs of Respighi’s music for BIS. The latest instalment also featured l’Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, in a performance of Impressioni brasiliane.

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