Magazine article Gramophone

Respighi: Ballata Delle Gnomidi

Magazine article Gramophone

Respighi: Ballata Delle Gnomidi

Article excerpt


Ballata delle gnomidi. Belkis, regina di Saba--S0uite. Metamorphoseon

Liege Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/John Neschling

BIS (F) [SACD], BIS2130 (72' * DDD/DSD)

Composers can be wayward judges of their own work. Respighi, it would seem, disliked his Metatnorphoseon, commissioned in 1930 by Serge Koussevitzky as one of a number of works (the list included Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms) to mark the Boston Symphony's 50th anniversary. Though the premiere was a success, Respighi deemed its composition 'forced', and discouraged further performances - a curious response, since it's arguably the most striking piece in John Neschling's latest album of his music.

In form, it's an extended set of variations on a slowly unwinding theme, the contours of which suggest both Gregorian chant and Slavonic folksong, a reflection perhaps of both Respighi's interest in early music and his Russian training. The style is postRomantic, but there's an almost Baroque profusion of inspiration in its restlessly shifting orchestral patterns. …

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