Respighi: Fountains Of Rome, Pines Of Rome, Roman Festivals / Graham, US Air Force Band

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If only the standard symphonic recordings of this music could boast sound this good! Actually, in "Pines" I still have a slight preference for the...

If only the standard symphonic recordings of this music could boast sound this good! Actually, in "Pines" I still have a slight preference for the version recorded by the "President's Own" Marine Corps Band, but if you're looking for all three "Roman" tone poems, this stunningly recorded disc will be pretty hard to beat. The transcriptions, by Lawrence Odom, are amazingly faithful to Respighi's original concept, and you'll be surprised at how little you miss the presence of the strings. The soft, delicate passages ("The Pines of the Janiculum", or the outer sections of "Fountains") sound just fine here, though the very opening of "Festivals" lacks the slashing attack of the violins. Never mind.

The brass and winds of the U.S. Air Force Band play with a boldness and confidence that's breathtaking. Just listen to the trombones and other low brass in the "Trevi Fountain" (and to the way conductor Graham builds the section's climax). "The Pines Near a Catacomb" sounds even darker and more menacing than in the original, while the concluding sections of "Pines" and "Festivals" will blow you away, if your speakers can stand it.

It's also worth pointing out that Col. Lowell E. Graham's conducting is not just strong and forthright, but it's remarkably sensitive to balance and color, even in heavily scored passages. The very opening of "Pines" gives the harps a welcome prominence that they haven't enjoyed since Reiner's classic RCA recording. In short, even if you're not normally a collector of band music recordings, you might want to give this disc serious consideration. Great music-making, after all, speaks for itself.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Release Date: August 31, 2010


  • UPC: 019688118228


  • Catalog Number: K11182


  • Label: KlAVIEr


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Ottorino Respighi


  • Conductor: Lowell Graham


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: United States Air Force Band


  • Performer: Graham, U.S. Air Force Band