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Respighi: Impressioni brasiliane & La boutique fantasque / Neschling, Liege Philharmonic

Release Date: 05/27/2014 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 2050   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  John Neschling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ličge Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It’s good to see John Neschling’s series of recordings for BIS continuing with this fine Respighi disc from Liège. Brazilian Impressions may not be one of Respighi’s more important pieces–there was a long period of time when the only available recordings were Dorati’s on Mercury Living Presence–but the music is super atmospheric, and the use of the Dies irae chant melody to represent the snakes at Butantan reveals a wry sense of humor not often associated with this composer. The work is played as well as as on any competing recording, and the SACD sonics both here and in La Boutique fantasque are stupendous.

As for the ballet, it always has been one of Respighi’s most popular works, as much for the Rossini originals
Read more adapted for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes as for the colorfully scored settings themselves. Neschling’s performance rocks. Exciting numbers like the Tarantella, the Cossack Dance, the Cancan, and the final Galop have tremendous energy, but elegance and swagger too, while the Valse lente and Nocturne ooze a particularly Rossinian brand of unsentimental poetry that no one else quite matches. Respighi’s arrangements, it’s worth stressing, really do make it seem as if the music was composed for orchestra all along. A delightful disc, both musically and sonically.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

John Neschling, whose previous Respighi album was an instant classic, returns for more and delivers top-quality results yet again. The Liège orchestra summons up Brazilian sounds better than one could imagine; listen especially to the seductive woodwind solos in the nocturne, and in particular the fruity, playful timbre of the clarinets. The Brazilian-born Neschling must have infused these players with the spirit of his home country’s dances, but the nocturne takes up half the piece, and the amount of color and vibrancy achievable under the light of the moon is a testament to composer and performers.

Then there’s La Boutique fantasque, the ballet based on Rossini tunes, forty-five minutes of pure nonstop good times. I should pause to point out that BIS has, once again, produced the kind of recorded sound which actually makes the interpretations themselves even more praiseworthy: absolute and total clarity, but flattering rather than clinical. Every color and effect Rossini dreamed up is audible; his total mastery of the orchestra, and the orchestra’s total mastery of the music, are on vivid, high-definition display. This is a big improvement over my other favorite Boutique, with Alexander Gibson and the Scottish National Orchestra on Chandos.

The piece is unremitting fun, and if I didn’t know it was about toys coming to life in the toy-shop and falling in love, my theory would be that it depicted a three-day-long Italian wedding extravaganza with a whole truck full of wine. I could put the famous second-movement tarantella on repeat — and notice how the cymbal player, not normally someone you’d single out for praise, manages to save the repetitive crash-crash-crash-crash from being sloppy or irritating. The orchestra’s playing throughout is totally exquisite, with the woodwinds again coming up for special commendations. In the “Can-can”, the muted trumpets sound like inspiration for Shostakovich.

My colleague Dan Morgan already wrote that this album is something special and I’m inclined to agree. May there be more Respighi forthcoming from Neschling; after two albums, it’s safe to say he is one of the finest advocates this composer has ever had, delivering all the fireworks and the depth too.

– Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

Elegant and engaging; Respighi performances don’t come much better than this.

– Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

La boutique fantasque by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  John Neschling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ličge Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Rome, Italy 
Impressioni brasiliane by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  John Neschling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ličge Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Entertaining music of Respighi September 10, 2014 By Archibald S. See All My Reviews "This disc features two lesser known but entertaining works of Respighi. The first, Impressione Brasiliane, resulted from his visit to Brazil in 1927. The second, a ballet score La Boutique fantasque, resulted from a collaboration with Diaghilev. They are well played by the Belgian orchestra, with particularly good work by the woodwinds and brass. My only reservation is the number of thematic and tempo changes in each of the eight ballet tracks, ranging from two to five, which produced a rather disjointed feeling. Reviewed in SACD stereo only." Report Abuse
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