<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson ORCHESTRAL PANOPLY
Fritz Reiner has the right qualities for this music. With an impeccable ear
and ruthless sense of orchestral discipline, he keeps Respighi's luxuriant
scores under impressive control. In The Pines he has the flair and
brilliance to allow the Chicago players a virtuoso display at the outset of the
'Villa Borghese' movement [listen -- track 1, 0:01-0:55].
A firm friend of Richard Strauss since conducting in 1919 the German première
of Die Frau ohne Schatten at Dresden, he was equally admired by Stravinsky
who thought the Chicago SO 'the most precise and flexible orchestra in the world'
and Reiner himself 'a wonderful musician and such a fine technician'. So Reiner
was entrusted with the first American performance of The Rake's Progress.
The 'Catacomb' pines call forth all the most expressive subterranean noises in
the Chicago repertoire, but even more impressive, perhaps, is the glum persistence
of the tramping feet along the 'Via Appia' in the last movement
[listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:03].
Copyright © 15 October 2003
Robert Anderson, London UK