Tuesday, January 19, 2021

English suites and others no. 32

Ottorino Respighi produced another suite of ancient airs and dances besides the three that bear that name. My favorite of his works is the suite Gli uccelli "The Birds", which orchestrates five avian depictions from early keyboard or lute pieces.

The five are, with time stamps for this recording, 0.00 Prelude (Bernardo Pasquini), 3.07 The Dove (Jacques de Gallot), 7.30 The Hen (Jean-Philippe Rameau), 10.26 The Nightingale (Jacob van Eyck), 14.08 The Cuckoo (Pasquini again).

But you have to be careful in selecting a recording of this suite. Too often it's played mechanically, and becomes tick-tock and dull. It needs life and breath, and, for that, no conductor is more reliable than good old Eugene Ormandy.

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