Quintet for Piano & Strings in F minor, P. 35*
String Quartet in D minor "Ernst is das Leben heiter ist de Kunst", P. 91*
Six Pieces for Violin & Piano P. 31*
Chandos CHAN9962 76:42
Respighi was a part of the generation of Italian composers who wanted to show the world that Italy could produce not only great opera, but other serious classical instrumental music. His teacher, Martucci, was at the forefront of that movement. Respighi was not only a composer, but also a professional violinist and violist. While playing for two years with the Imperial orchestra in St. Petersburg, he also was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov and learned valuable orchestration techniques.
In Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chambermusic, Guido Gatti writes that in Respighi's early music, "echoes of heard music reverberated in his inner consciousness as in a seashell, and he reproduced them with the felicity of youth." There are loving nods towards Brahms in the Piano Quintet, not so much in the melodic material, but in the connective tissue. The String Quartet (in its premier recording!) bends more towards Ravel and Debussy. The mood of the string quartet is true to its Schiller sub-title: Life is serious, art is joyful. The beautiful Quartet's second movement could represent life, but the last movement is most certainly art.
The six violin pieces (1901-1905) are melodious, delicate pieces, with instant appeal. Altogether, this disc is a delight.
* Respighi Catalog by Potito Pedarra