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Respighi: La Sensitiva, etc / Finnie, Attrot, Hickox, BBC PO

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
In some of Respighi's comparatively neglected pieces, his accustomed richness and subtlety of orchestral colour go with a certain lack of melodic individuality. Once or twice in Deitàsilvane ('Woodland gods'), one wishes that the poems' classical imagery would lead him towards an evocation or even a direct quotation from Italian music's 'classical' past of the kind that so often renders his better-known music so memorable. In La sensitiva ('The sensitive plant'), however, his care for the imagery and prosody of Shelley's poem (in Italian translation) was so responsive that striking melodic invention was the result. The orchestral colour of the piece is exquisite, the succession of ideas (the sensitive plant is image both of unhappy lover and spurned artist) a good deal more than merely picturesque. In a performance as expressive as this it seems one of Respighi's best works, and a good deal more sophisticated than he's generally given credit for. Aretusa is fine, too, with bigger dramatic gestures, even richer colour and some magnificent sea music.

The much better-known Nebbie is another example of Respighi finding a genuinely sustained melodic line in response to a text which obviously meant a great deal to him. Everything here is played with a real care for Respighi's line as well as his sumptuous but never muddy colours. First-class recording.


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