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Respighi: Church Windows, Brazilian Impressions/Simon
Ottorino Respighi, Geoffrey Simon, Philharmonia Orchestra of London
Respighi: Church Windows, Brazilian Impressions/Simon
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Ottorino Respighi, Geoffrey Simon, Philharmonia Orchestra of London
Title: Respighi: Church Windows, Brazilian Impressions/Simon
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Chandos
Release Date: 10/9/1992
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Theatrical, Incidental & Program Music, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 095115831724

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CD Reviews

I Love Respighi
Wesley McKain | Kansas City, MO United States | 02/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It also frustrates me that Church Windows is overshadowed by the Pines of Rome and the like. The 2nd movement, St. Michael the Archangel, is just about the most exciting piece of classical music I have ever heard. If you like brass (and especially low brass) you will love Church Windows, love this CD, and love Respighi. Highly Recommened!"
Glorious, Intimate, Explosive!!!
Matthew L. Pumphrey | Annapolis, MD United States | 01/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Church Windows seems to be unjustly overshadowed by the Roman tone poems, as there does not seem to be many performances or recordings of this masterful orchestral suite. If you like the tone poems, treat yourself to some more "ear candy" with Church Windows. The fourth movement alone is worth the investment as it contains one of Respighi's all-time great climaxes. As a bonus you get "Brazilian impressions", a brilliant musical suite of colorful delights. These are my choice picks of the few CD releases available today. Simon seems to have the dynamics and feelings needed for this powerful music. Highly recommended!!!"
Brazilian Impressions Superb, Church Windows Very Good
Doug - Haydn Fan | California | 04/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Modern orchestras continue to amaze. The playing here is very good indeed, and Chandos offers good sound, decidely superior especially at forte passages - a necessity in this music - and better than certain SACDs I have recently heard. (Penatone's Fischer Khachaturian Violin Concerto jumps to mind.)

When Respighi visited Brazil in 1927 he led a local opera orchestra in several of his works. Not surprisingly, they struggled, which says a great deal about standards not only of the time, but also suggests how much more demanding South American audiences were on their singers over the pit musicians. Respighi on his next visit brought back these lovely skecthes; they're similar in style to Ibert's Escales, though not quite so integrated.

Hearing the modern Philharmonia breeze through the Brazilian Impressions in such a beautifully made recording is an enchanting experience. We've come a long long way from those days when Respighi, who struggled enough with Italian orchestras, attempted to hold together that opera orchestra in Brazil back in the twenties. Simon nicely crafts this showpiece for orchestra and the players bring great confidence and talent to their many solos. Respighi's notorious score marking of 'strisciante' for the slithering snakes he saw at the Sao Paulo snake farm is impossible to miss, while the exotic super-abundance of tropical equatorial colors of South America previously captured by landscape painters are here given their first full musical expression.

The ear-shattering climaxes leaping out of my speakers in the main work on this CD, Respighi's Church Windows, is less fun; at one point I had to turn the volume down or leave the room. (I left the room and listened to the sounds as if I were back at the War Memorial bar during one of the more raucous moments of a modern opera.) I wonder if, as is the case with Crumb's Black Angles, the musicians and conductor wear earplugs when they play such forte sections? Though obviously more 'serious' music than the Impressions, the Church Windows can easily sound bombastic. The work has its fans: I am not one of its champions. One can overdo things, and I think here Ottorino went too far. Played in a real church I'm sure the priests would fear for their own stained glass!

Church Windows is not exactly analogous to Strauss's Alpine Symphony or Sinfonie Domestica, it is not as bad as they are in Strauss's total ouerve, though neither are Resphigi's best works anything as good as Strauss' best music. All in all I prefer Respighi's less bombastic memories of Brazil. For those who are most interested in Church Windows Simon leads the work well, and the orchestra is given superb reproduction by Chandos.

Perhaps a more mystical sensibility at the helm might have worked to the music's ultimate advantage. Celibidache, if he had deigned, would certainly have gotten something more out of the music, though the thought of an hour long Church Windows does give one pause.