Classics Today 10/10: "Among the great versions of this music on disc"; Music Web International: Recording of the Month: "Bravo".
Ottorino Respighi's Roman Trilogy (the tone poems Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome and Roman Festivals) holds a very special place in the orchestral repertory, challenging almost any other composition for sheer sonic audience appeal. Spectacular scenes such as Fontana di Trevi in the glitter of the mid-day sun, children playing under the pine-trees of the Villa Borghese or gladiators fighting at Circus Maximus provided the masterly orchestrator with the opportunity to employ the full palette of the large-scale symphony orchestra, to which he added various instruments, including organ, piano, celesta, glockenspiel, mandolin and tambourines. In fact, in the third part of the Pines of Rome Respighi went even further and specified, for the first time ever in classical music, the use of a gramophone, playing a recording of a nightingale singing. As a result, these works glitter, shimmer, blare and thunder: a true feast for the ear which here has found worthy exponents in the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) and John Neschling. Previous releases by this team include recordings of music by Villa-Lobos and his Brazilian colleagues Camargo Guarnieri, Francisco Mignone and Claudio Santoro, and individual discs have been described by reviewers as 'the most vibrant, colorful, rhythmically vital and virtuosic performances imaginable' (on website Classics Today.com), 'an orgy of colours and rhythms' (in Diapason), and 'an assured blend of lush colours, pulsating rhythms and supple phrasing' (in International Record Review.) Such qualities certainly work in the Old World, too - and nowhere better than in Ottorino Respighi's Rome!