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LP Review

Ottorino Respighi

  • Feste Romane
  • Pini di Roma
Cleveland Orchestra/Lorin Maazel
Speakers Corner/Decca LP SXL6822

This LP was always accorded sonic spectacular status and in this magnificent Speaker's Corner reissue, one can actually hear why! The balance between strings, woodwind and brass is almost palpable; a tribute to the expertise of Kenneth Wilkinson, probably the finest recording engineer there ever was, here towards the end of his richly rewarding career.

Maazel's interpretations of these great symphonic poems rely extrinsically on weight and sheer precision while intrinsically; they reveal a deep love and passion for the Roman connection. The gloom and mystery of the 'Catacombs' sequence is particularly impressive whilst the joyous exuberance of the concluding pages of 'Pini di Roma' has to be heard to be believed. The same goes for the more wild 'Feste Romane' with its almost orgiastic sequences that are impeccably played by the razor sharp Clevelanders.

Many have lauded Dutoit's excellent recording of these works but LP fanatics are guided to this superbly engineered disc that is another of those sonic Decca wonders. I also retain affection for Istvan Kertesz's recording of 'The Birds' and 'Pines of Rome' on an earlier Decca issue, how about that for another Speaker's Corner reissue?

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech