This disc features 2 of Respighi's works for Violin and orchestra in Respighi's gregorian style and the Ballata delle Gnomidi. The main piece the Concerto Gergoriano is IMO Respighi's most personal and perhaps his masterpiece. It will take a few listens before this music starts burrow its way into your thoughts but it is more than worth the effort. The opening is hushed and shimmers with a mediterranean haze, for me the 1st 2 movements contains Respighi's most beautiful music. Full of thoughtful elegy, the finale starts in a more positive manner with a theme full of swagger which soon subsides to a slower middle section before heading back to the big theme. The Poema Autunnale is another beautifully elegiac work. If all you know is the big 3 Roman tone poems then id say give Respighi's other side a try, as its well worth it.
What a truly superb CD this is! As a long-term admirer of Respighi I expected this CD would be enjoyable - but what a surprise. Some of the most beautiful violin writing, poignant, passionate, romantic, all handled with supreme sensitivity by Lydia Mordkovitch, and matched in support by the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Downes. If you can listen to and enjoy 'The Lark Ascending' by RVW don't hesitate about the purchase here: I felt a great amount of English romance and lyricism (to my surprise) in the music.
I've had this disc for many years and it regularly the one I go to when I am looking for forty minutes of blissful calm. Both works for Violin and Orchestra provide buckets full of Respighi's lush, masterful orchestration beneath the lyrical solo lines played here by Lydia Mordkovitch. Then there's the brilliance of The Ballad of the Gnomes, a schizophrenic gem remeniscent of Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel. If it's a mellow moment you're after this CD is a must but you may wish to save Ballad of the Gnomes for a more envigorating experience.
Despite the Concerto gregoriano (Poema autunnale as well) is a very interesting score, full of colour and sophisticated melody, the conducting here is really poor. There is too much cheap "atmosphere" and much too little thinking about music. It's obvious that the conductor is reading the score, new for him, and does not know it not only by heart, but does not know what is within. For exemple: in works with solo violin, all winds instruments are almost absent in the sound image (which is also caused by registration). Only Ballata delle Gnomidi (for orchestra) tells the truth about Respighi's art. The only work studied by conductor before making the release? Nice playing of Lydia Mordkovitch, but it's not enough in such rich music, like this.