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Alceo Galliera - Respighi: Pini Di Roma, Etc; Rossini


Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Medici Masters   Catalog #: 22   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RESPIGHI Pines of Rome. La boutique fantasque. Brazilian Impressions 1 Alceo Galliera, cond; Philharmonia O MEDICI ARTS 22, mono 1 (73:19)


Italian conductor Alceo Galliera (1910–1996) is probably best remembered for his work in opera. His 1957 recording of Rossini’s Barber of Seville with Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi for EMI has been Read more transferred to CD and is still a well-regarded performance. For approximately two decades following WW II, however, Galliera was called upon by famed producer Walter Legge and EMI to lead a number of studio recordings of symphonic works and concertos with star soloists. Among them is a 1947 Beethoven “Emperor” with Schnabel; a 1956 Brahms “Double” with David Oistrakh and Pierre Fournier; Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 with Dennis Brain; and a Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Michael Rabin. The current CD from the producers of BBC Legends recordings comes from the BBC’s archive of Galliera tapes, a number of which I suspect have yet to be released.


The three Respighi works on this disc were all recorded in London’s Kingsway Hall over a period of four years. The earliest, Brazilian Impressions , was taped between the 18th and 21st of March 1955, and is in mono. The Pines of Rome and La boutique fantasque are both in stereo, and were recorded on January 22, 1957, and May 28–29, 1959, respectively. La boutique fantasque (“The Fantastic Toyshop”) which Respighi wrote in 1918 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, is, as is well known, an appropriation of orchestrated piano pieces by Rossini.


The sound of these mid-to-late-1950s recordings, including the mono Brazilian Impressions is better in some ways than some recent releases I’ve heard, which I suppose shouldn’t be a surprise considering that Walter Jellinek and Walter Legge were the original producers. The soundstage is wide and deep, the dynamic range impressive, and subtle atmospheric details of delicate percussion effects are captured with amazing clarity.


Alceo Galliera may not have been the greatest colossus that bestrode the conductor’s podium, but he did seem to have an affinity for these works of his compatriot. Just listen to the sinister slithering he brings to the second of the Brazilian Impressions , “Butantan,” which, if I’m not mistaken, is a reference to a venomous snake, and to the way the Dies Irae chant is woven into the orchestral fabric. And in this same movement, listen to the Philharmonia’s superb first bassoon player in his difficult solo.


This CD is highly recommended, and not just to those who collect historical and archival recordings.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/22/1957 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 19 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2. La boutique fantasque by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
This ballet is based on themes by Gioacchino Rossini. 
3. Impressioni brasiliane by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Alceo Galliera
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928 
Date of Recording: 01/22/1957 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

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