9th July 1879 --- 18th April 1936

Ottorino Respighi(born 1879, Bologna, Italy--died 1936, Rome, Italy), Italian composer who introduced Russian orchestral colour and some of the violence of Richard Strauss's harmonic techniques into Italian music. He studied at the Liceo of Bologna and later with Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg, where he was first violist in the Opera Orchestra. From his foreign masters Respighi acquired a command of orchestral colour and an interest in orchestral composition.

A piano concerto by Respighi was performed at Bologna in 1902, a "notturno" for orchestra was played at a concert in the Metropolitan Opera House that year. His comic opera Re Enzo and the opera Semirama brought him recognition and an appointment in 1913 to the Sta. Cecilia Academy in Rome as professor of composition. He became director of the conservatory in 1924 but resigned in 1926.

Respighi was drawn to the sensual, decadent climate of the Rome depicted by the poet D'Annunzio, and in his celebrated suites--Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome especially--he sought to convey the subtlety and colour of the poet's imagination. Other suites include Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows, 1927); Gli ucelli (The Birds, 1927); Feste Romane (Roman Festival, 1929); and Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych, 1927, for chamber orchestra).

Respighi was also drawn to old Italian music, which he arranged in two sets of Antique Dances and Arias (transcribed for orchestra from lute pieces). One of his most popular scores was his arrangement of pieces by Rossini, La Boutique fantasque, produced by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in London (1919). A later arrangement of Rossini piano pieces, Rossiniana (1925), also became a ballet.

As a composer of opera, Respighi had less success outside his own country. His best known works for the theatre were Belfagor, a comic opera produced at Milan in 1923, and La fiamma (Rome, 1934), which effectively transfers the gloomy Norwegian tragedy of H. Wiers Jenssen (known to English-speaking audiences in John Masefield's version as The Witch) to Byzantine Ravenna. In a different, more subdued vein are the "mystery," Maria Egiziaca (1932), and his posthumous Lucrezia Orfeo he made a free transcription for La Scala, Milan, in 1935.

Respighi's wife and pupil, Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo Respighi (1894- ), was a singer and a composer of operas, choral and symphonic works, and songs.

For a indepth interview with Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo Respighi, on her husband,point your browser to Adriano's interviews at his website.

Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica

Last Updated on 9th March 2003
By Steven

And now for the Music

My grateful thanks go to Ramon Pajares Box for this wonderful piece, email (">Ramon Pajares Box and let him know how much you like the music, or better still pay his webpage a visit. webpage a visit.

(2801) "Antiche Danze ed Arie per liuto" (Early Dances and Airs for lute),1. Taken from Simone Molinaro: Balletto detto "Il Conte Orlando". A wonderful piece sequenced by Ramon Pajares Box

(2802) "Antiche Danze ed Arie per liuto" (Early Dances and Airs for lute),2. Taken from Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei): Gagliarda (155...)". Sequenced by Ramon Pajares Box

(2803) "Antiche Danze ed Arie per liuto" (Early Dances and Airs for lute),3. Taken from Anonymous: Villanella (end 16th c.)". Sequenced by Ramon Pajares Box

(2770)"Antiche Danze ed Arie per liuto" (Early Dances and Airs for lute),4. Taken from Anonymous: Passo mezzo e Mascherada (end 16th c.)". Sequenced by Ramon Pajares BoxLarge file please click here for pkunzip.exe

I like to thank Gary Goldberg for the following music, to contact Gary please ("> Click Here,

(1586)"Roman Festivals"The music is in four parts (Circus Maximus, Jubilee, October Festival, and Epiphany),but is played without pause. (Click here for text file) Sequenced by Gary Goldberg

(840) "Antiche Danze Arie" Suite No.2 (Info kindly supplied by Demian Battaglia) Sequenced by ?

(839) "Antiche Danze Arie" No.3 Sequenced by ?

(838)First movement "Circenses" (Circuses) from the Feste Romane (Info kindley supplied by Edward Gold)Large file please click here for pkunzip.exe Sequencer is unknown

(255) "Antiche Danze Arie" Suite No.1 (Info kindly supplied by Ramon Pajares Box) Sequenced by M. Lundgren

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