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Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome and Festivals of Rome--which have been performed with such enormous success by Arturo Toscanini in Italy and America, and which have been featured on symphony programs of orchestras thruout the world. Works such as these are important contributions to the symphonic literature of our times and represent Respighi at his strongest. Referring once again to G. A. Luciani: "In his Fountains of Rome, Respighi has realized a personal form of symphonic-poem, where the descriptive and colorful element blends intimately with the lyrical and sentimental element, and in a line which persistently maintains its classicism in spite of a very modern technique. It is to this form that he has returned in his Pines of Rome, which concludes with a triumphal march of a rich and powerful sonority."In his operas, particularly in such successful efforts as the Sunken Bell, after a play of Gerhart Hauptmann, performed at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, and Maria Egiziaca whose world-première took place under the baton of Toscanini, Respighi has revealed a refined musical style which almost approaches impressionism. In these operas, Respighi has been less Italian than his compatriots, in that the harmonic construction is of greater importance than the lyrical, and the orchestra is given greater importance than the voices. More recently, however--particularly in his last work, La Fiamma-- Respighi has consciously returned to the composition of full melodies so beloved by his people. A greater simplicity is now found, and a wealth of lyrical material. As Respighi himself has said, La Fiamma is "a return to the people. It represents my need to sing simply and sincerely for the great mass of the people.""Whether Respighi has achieved a new and strongly original expression," criticized Raymond Hall, "is open to debate. That he has written a terse and highly effective melodrama, there seems no question to this reviewer. The invention is not always of a high order, but it is more often good than in any of his previous stage works, with the possible exception of Maria Egiziaca."Principal works by Ottorino Respighi:
OPERA : Semirama; Maria Vittoria; Belfagor; Sunken Bell; Maria Egiziaca; La Fiamma.
ORCHESTRA : Suite for Strings and Organ; Sinfonia Drammatica; Fountains of Rome; Pines of Rome; Festivals of Rome; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Concerto Gregoriano (for violin and orchestra); Church Windows; Suite Antique.
CHAMBER MUSIC : Sonata in B-Minor (for violin and piano); String Quartet in D- Major; Quartetto Dorico; Concerto à Cinque.
About Ottorino Respighi: Revue Musicale 8:51January 1927.Important recordings of music by Ottorino Respighi:
VICTOR : Fountains of Rome ( Coates).
ITALIAN VICTOR : Pines of Rome; Suite Antique.

Emil von Reznicek 1860-

EMIL NIKOLAUS VON REZNICEK, in the vanguard of the rigidly conservative of modern Austrian composers, was born in Vienna on May 4, 1860. The law appealed to him strongly in his youth, and so he entered a law school in Graz, pursuing the study of music under Prof. Wilhelm Mayer as an avocation. At the age of twenty- one--with a legal career stretching before him--he met and became a close friend of Busoni, the composer, and Felix Weingartner, the conductor, who first seriously influenced him to study music with greater seriousness. Their arguments struck a responsive chord with Reznicek and, one year later, he gave up legal studies in order to make music his life-work. Entering the Leipzig Conservatory, he studied under those two celebrated theorists, Jadassohn and Reinecke. A year of diligent and intensive study successfully filled in the gaps in his musical knowledge, and by his twenty-third birthday he was prepared to compose with a skilled pen. His Symphonic Suite ( 1833) revealed that he had learned his lessons well.

In order to earn a livelihood while composing, he turned to orchestral conducting--and for several years he was leader of theatrical orchestras in Graz, Berlin and Mainz. In the meanwhile, the drudgery of conducting inconse

____________________
Reznicek: rĕz′nĭ-chĕk

-210-

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