1879 - 1936
Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. One of his most famous works was his 'Roman Trilogy' which contains his 'Pini di Roma' - 'The Pines of Rome'. As you can guess from the title, the piece is based on the pine trees of Rome, and each of the four movements represents a different group of trees at a different time of the day. For instance, the first movement - Pines of the Villa Borghese - depicts the trees that are near a school - here, Respighi mimics the sound of children rushing and playing by using trills and runs in woodwind, as well as giving the movement a bright tone and mostly major tonality. In the second movement - Pines Near a Catacomb - the music suddenly becomes more subdued, as this movement was written to represent the catacombs in Rome. For this, Respighi completely changes the mood by arranging for the lower instruments of the orchestra, as well as using an organ for added effect. His use of parallel fifths was intended to represent the monks that would chant near the catacombs.
|The Janiculum Hill that looks over the city of Rome|
The fourth movement 'The Pines of the Appian Way' represents the brilliance of the rising sun after the night. This is reflected in Respighi's use of ancient trumpets which are supposed to create a militaristic tone as if depicting the act of marching. Not only is this work an incredible example of detailed orchestration and innovative use of recording techniques - Respighi uses 'Pini di Roma' to take his audience through a whirlwind tour of some of the most beautiful areas of Rome - in only about twenty minutes!