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For Brazilian Impressions, the composer was inspired by a visit to the country in 1927. But the colourfully evocative Notte tropicale fails to make landfall in South America. This is night music to rival de Falla's Noches en los Jardines de España, the central segment in Bartók's Adagio religioso from his Piano Concerto No 3, even Mussorgsky's demonic St John's Night on the Bare Mountain (1867). But of Latin-America there is scarcely a trace.
Listen -- Notte tropicale (Impressione brasiliane)
(track 5, 1:50-2:56) © 2007 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Hospital Vital Brazil, Instituto Butantan, Sao Paulo, is a venom research centre and Respighi's slithering item Butantan with its passing reference to the 13th century Latin Dies Irae, brings to mind widely-feared elongate snakes. How fastidiously Falletta details this movement.
With his Canzona e danza Respighi finally transports us to a Brazilian folk setting with its joyful bustle, colour and lively syncopated dance. While Brazilian Impressions is something of a misnomer, Falletta and her Buffalo players treat us to performances of distinction.
Copyright © 20 May 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand