Impressions of Italy
LAWRENCE BUDMEN is impressed by
Alasdair Neale and the New World Symphony
The sun drenched landscape, glowing waters, and artistic beauty of Italy have long been
an inspiration to creative artists. Many visiting composers have recorded their
impressions in music. The multicolored palette of a full symphony orchestra has been
the perfect instrument to give voice to musical evocations of this Mediterranean land.
On 28 September 2003 at the Lincoln Theater in Miami Beach, the New World Symphony
presented a concert of music about Italy by two visitors and a native son.
While Italian composers had long dominated the operatic and vocal field, Ottorino Respighi
(1879-1936) was a symphonic pioneer. Along with Giuseppe Martucci and Giovanni Sgambati,
Respighi believed that orchestral and chamber music needed to speak with a distinctly
Italian voice. Respighi visited Russia and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov. He was deeply
influenced by that composer's colorful musical visions of Asia and the Orient in such works
as Scheherazade, Antar, and Le Coq d'Or. The lush impressionism of
Debussy and Ravel also found expression in Respighi's panorama of orchestral sonorities.
His two most famous works -- The Fountains of Rome and
The Pines of Rome -- were both composed during the era of the First World War. Here
is music filled with sumptuous instrumental textures, brilliant orchestral effects, and
melodic richness -- extravagant portraits in sound of Rome's architectural wonders.
Copyright © 1 November 2003
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA