Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

Ancient Airs and Dances

Arie di Corte

Respighi was born in Bologna, Italy and began his serious music studies in that city’s Liceo. From 1900 until 1901 again from 1902 until 1903 he studied with Rimsky - Korsakov in St. Petersburg. This master of orchestration played, unsurprisingly, a huge role in forming Respighi’s own superb orchestration skills. At this time Respighi was also the first viola player at the opera in St. Petersburg. On return to Italy he became professor of composition at the Conservatory Regio in Rome. Apart from his spectacular works such as "Pines of Rome", Respighi took great pleasure in collecting old Italian music. The "ancient airs and dances" are the result of his discovery of these pieces for lute. This is the only one of the suites which is purely for strings. The incomparable writing for strings creates wonderful colours. Respighi was active as a conductor on both sides of Atlantic. He married the singer and composer Elsa Olivieri–Sangiaromo and often accompanied her recitals. In recent years there has been revival of her works and it has been discovered that she too was very fine composer

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