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Respighi: Il Tramonto

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All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Ottorino Respighi's fame rests on his orchestral music, particularly his flamboyant tone poems such as "The Pines of Rome" and "The Fountains of Rome," and his charming faux-renaissance sets of "Ancient Airs and Dances," but he also left a large body of chamber music, songs, and keyboard music, as well as nine completed operas and 11 ballets. On this BIS recording, the New Hellenic Quartet performs three of his works for string quartet, including one of his most popular non-orchestral pieces, "Il Tramonto" The Sunset, a setting of a translation of a poem by Shelley, for mezzo-soprano and quartet. For listeners only familiar with the composer's extroverted orchestral ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Ottorino Respighi's fame rests on his orchestral music, particularly his flamboyant tone poems such as "The Pines of Rome" and "The Fountains of Rome," and his charming faux-renaissance sets of "Ancient Airs and Dances," but he also left a large body of chamber music, songs, and keyboard music, as well as nine completed operas and 11 ballets. On this BIS recording, the New Hellenic Quartet performs three of his works for string quartet, including one of his most popular non-orchestral pieces, "Il Tramonto" The Sunset, a setting of a translation of a poem by Shelley, for mezzo-soprano and quartet. For listeners only familiar with the composer's extroverted orchestral music, the intimacy of the quartets will come as a revelation. Respighi's setting of Shelley's poem emphasizes its lyricism more than its romantic angst and is wonderfully effective in its understated evocation of the beauty of the natural world. The composer's control of the dramatic tension of the narrative through his use of modulation is particularly skillful, and his vocal writing is simple but sensuous; it's easy to see why this work has remained popular. The two other quartets are less compelling than "Il Tramonto." The 1909 "String Quartet in D minor" demonstrates the composer's familiarity with the Debussy and Ravel quartets, but its thematic material is less distinctive than theirs and Respighi's quartet is generally more pastel-hued and impressionistic. Written in a single 20-minute movement, the "Quartetto Dorico" 1926 is less successful because it lacks the thematic variety to sustain interest. The playing of the New Hellenic Quartet is clean and warm and shows a real affinity for this repertoire. Mezzo-soprano Stella Doufexis' voice is ethereal but secure, and her performance is entirely convincing. The sound quality of the recording is clear and present.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/27/2007
  • Label: Bis
  • EAN: 7318590014547
  • Catalog Number: 1454

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Il tramonto (The Sunset), for voice & string quartet/string orchestra, P. 101 - Ottorino Respighi & Percy Bysshe Shelley (16:12)
  2. 2–5 String Quartet in D minor ("Ernst ist das Leben heiter ist die Kunst"), P. 91 - Ottorino Respighi & Robert Suff (30:32)
  3. 3 String Quartet ("Quartetto dorico"), P. 144 - Ottorino Respighi & Robert Suff (21:18)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
New Hellenic Quartet Primary Artist
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