Ottorino Respighi, A Dream of Italy

A film by Christopher Nupen

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Allegri String Quartet
Raphael Sommer
Zehava Gal
Christine Falk

Program notes

A dreamy portrait of Respighi, on the music of the three famous Roman poems.

Who was Ottorino Respighi? An Italian composer, born in Bologna in 1879. Nature endowed him with the most prodigious gifts and he quickly became the leading Italian Symphonist in the first half of the 20th century. But today he is generally thought of as the composer of large scale descriptive works, because of his brilliant use of orchestral colours, his skilful evocation of mood, and the international success of his three Roman Tone Poems; the Feste Romane, the Pines of Rome, and Fountains of Rome.

"I use nature," he said, "as a point of departure; so that I may recall memories and visions." But he added: "I am only a composer – always a composer. I could never have been anything else."

This film is not an account of events in an artist's life, nor is it a critical examination of his music which speaks more eloquently for itself than any words might do. It is an attempt at using the medium of the film to echo something of the spirit of Respighi's muse, and in so doing to attract interest to a great range of extremely beautiful music that is largely unknown to most of the television audience.
Christopher Nupen.

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Directed by:
Production date: 1982
Duration: 1 h 14 min
Production: © Allegro Films London
Resolution: SD