Respighi Roman Trilogy Done Right on Naxos

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic have made previous Respighi discs for Naxos, but none as fine as this. In fact, this is as impressive a recording of the composer’s Roman Trilogy as any in the catalogue. Everything about the program, from the order of the works (Festivals, Fountains, Pines), to the quality of the playing, to the bright and punchy sonics, bespeaks an effort to do it right. Falletta and team give the music the respect that it deserves. Given how many mediocre versions of this repertoire there are, that’s saying a lot.

Roman Festivals is the noisiest of the three works, and some would say the least musically interesting. Falletta tears into the piece with unashamed glee. The opening crowd scene, with its roaring lions and violent climaxes is cataclysmic, while the closing “La Befana” has color and chaos without degenerating into total cacophony. The Fountains of Rome nearly always comes off well. The only risk is in taking its outer sections too slowly, which Falletta does not. It’s a beautifully flowing performance. The Pines of Rome’s first three sections are all well characterized and sensitively done, but let’s face it: no one cares if the final march doesn’t come off. Here, it does, with pulverizing force. A terrific disc.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Ozawa (DG)

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