Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now a vinyl 331/3 rpm record shows up

In the days when we lived above the former decorating store, my stepfather played The Pines of Rome over and over, and over, until over time I fell in love with it. Now I cannot hear it without glistening around the eyeballs, and I always seek high volume.

Mood: Picture the Roman legion returning home on the Appian Way, victorious from a campaign. In the distance, first the beat of the drums and attention turns to the road and the horizon. They come!

Louder and louder. The excitement builds!

Now the horns can be heard! Now the soldiers can be seen approaching on the ancient road, marching, marching, marching. Louder and louder, the music builds in crescendo.........

All hail conductor Herbert von Karajan, ancient warrior wielding just a baton.

Hear the music:

From the internet:

Pini di Roma (English "Pines of Rome") is a 1924 work by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, and is considered one of the masterpieces of the Roman Trilogy of symphonic poems along with Feste Romane and Fontane di Roma. Each movement portrays the location of pine trees in the city during different parts of the day.
The first movement, called "I pini di Villa Borghese", portrays children playing in the pine groves of the Borghese gardens. The music depicts children marching and playing. There are no bass instruments in this movement. It is very light. The second movement, "Pini presso una catacomba" has a more melancholic tune, representing pine trees close to a catacomb in Campagna. Lower orchestral instruments, plus the organ pedal at 16' and 32' pitch represent the subterranean feature of the catacombs. The three tenor trombones and the bass trombone chant like priests. The third part, a nocturne, "I pini del Gianicolo" is set at night, near a temple of the Roman god Janus on the Janiculum hill. Double-faced gods open large doors and gates, marking the beginning of a new year. A nightingale is heard, giving Respighi the opportunity to include real life bird sounds in his work, a feat unachieved before (the score mentions a specific recording that can be played on a phonograph: the Brunswick Panatrope). The final movement, "I pini della Via Appia", portrays pine trees along the great Appian Way. Misty dawn, A legion advances along the Via Appia in the brilliance of the newly-risen sun. Respighi wanted the ground to tremble under the footsteps of his army and he instructs the organ to play bottom B flat on 8', 16' and 32' organ pedal. Not all domestic hi-fi systems will reproduce this sound. Trumpets peal and the consular army rises in triumph to the capitol. The organ pedal part is very important.
The first performance was given under conductor Bernardino Molinari in the Augusteo, Rome, on December 14, 1924

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