Respighi Works for Flute and Orchestra work for me

Many people only know of Ottorino Respighi through his trilogy of tone poems celebrating Rome. This release helps fill out the composer’s profile with some very unusual works. With the exception of Gli Uccelli, these selections come from the early part of Respighi’s career.

Those early works only exist in manuscript, and it’s not clear if they were ever performed. I’m so glad they are now! The pieces show Resphighi’s sure hand. Even with just a string orchestra and solo flute, he manages to create worlds of orchestral color.

Roberto Fabbricani plays in a relaxed manner. These aren’t flute concertos — technical demands are few. Musical demands aren’t. These works rely on the musicality of the performers. And that’s where Fabrricani and the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese excel. These are performances that charm the listener.

I especially enjoyed the Suite for Strings and Flute. It has the lightness of an Eric Coates piece and is just as amiable in character. This would be a welcome addition to any orchestral program, I think.

Also of interest is the Gli Uccelli, suite for small orchestra. If you’re a fan of Respighi’s “Ancient Aires and Dances,” you’ll want to add this to your collection. Respighi recasts the music of several Baroque composers that were inspired by birds. The result is something only Respighi could achieve. It’s modern and ancient, and — of course — brilliantly orchestrated.

You don’t have to be a Respighi completist to enjoy this release.

Ottorino Respighi: Works for Flute and Orchestra
Roberto Fabriciani, flute
Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese; Nicola Paszkowski, conductor
Tactus TC 871805

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