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Hyperion Records

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Photograph by Don Carr.
Power Pix
Track(s) taken from CDH55049
Recording details: November 1987
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: April 1988
Total duration: 16 minutes 33 seconds

'A praiseworthy achievement in every respect … Carol Madalin sings both works beautifully' (Gramophone)

'A glorious work [and] a most lovely record. Recommended with all possible enthusiasm' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

Il Tramonto
First line:
GiÓ v'ebbe un uomo, nel cui tenue spirto
1918; for mezzo-soprano and either string quartet plus double bass or string orchestra; first performed at the Accademia Si Santa Cecilia in Rome by the dedicatee Chiarina Fino Savia with Bernardino Molinari conducting
author of text
The Sunset
translator of text

Introduction  EnglishFranšaisDeutsch
In setting to music a poem by Shelley one would expect from the composer an outburst of exalted romanticism. Not so. Respighi was keenly aware of the predicament that the musical world faced at the turn of the century. The Verdian melodrama was giving way to the Verismo and Wagner’s influence was still considerable, while new musical trends were coming in from France and from Russia. Respighi observed, pondered, and gradually emerged as a composer in his own right.

Respighi composed Il Tramonto (‘The Sunset’) in 1918, two years after his first great achievement, The Fountains of Rome. It was a success from the start. It is written for mezzo-soprano and string quartet (with the addition of a double-bass part) or string orchestra, and it was in the latter form that it was premiered in Rome at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, with Bernardino Molinari conducting and Chiarina Fino Savio, to whom the work is dedicated, singing the solo part.

The whole work is pure musical poetry, intense in its expressiveness, crystalline yet colourful in its instrumentation, and delicate in its harmonies. But whether the mood is tender, contemplative, joyful or sad, the composer’s imagination never strays from the links of the basic conception. The main idea is masterfully unfolded and moulds the music to the very end.

from notes by Alfredo Bonavera ę 1988

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