2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Respighi: Roman Trilogy (Fontane Di Roma/ Pini Di Roma/ Feste Romane) (Audio CD)
Respighi's descriptive tributes to Rome are ideal subjects for the medium of SACD; atmospheric, exciting, and with orchestral writing that benefits from higher resolution.
The Fountains of Rome opens at a leisurely pace, and I was able to appreciate detail that I had not previously heard; Neschling and the Sao Paulo Symphony made me aware of water, flowing and dripping, and the grandeur of the sculptures.
Children playing get the Pines off to a brisk start with their high-pitched noises, and each tableau is faithfully communicated up to the overwhelming climax of the marching Roman soldiers.
The brutality of the circuses can be difficult to listen to if your imagination is active; Respighi pulls no punches in Roman Festivals. Happily the piece moves on to less bloodthirsty scenes, the imitation of a barrel organ being most effective.
BIS have continued their tried and tested method of recording, giving us a natural and spacious concert-hall sound. Dynamic level is very large, and I found that I needed to use more amplification than usual to maintain clarity in the quietest passages. This meant that those Roman soldiers raise the roof at the end of The Pines, which accurately reflects the huge orchestral forces. I have multi-miked recordings that maintain more detail during this very loud section, but fail to fully portray the huge crescendo captured here by BIS.
I feel that the recorded nightingale in the Pines of the Villa Borghese at night could have been given more atmosphere in the multi-channel recording; the possibility of floating it in the air is a tempting one, but I found it to come from the front speakers. Those Roman soldiers, however, do play their buccines from the rear speakers most effectively, and there is also brass from the rear in the opening of the Festivals.
I have waited for this first modern SACD of these works for some time, and am glad to be able to report that I am very satisfied.