D-d-d-double Feature! by Rob
February 3, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: music

Another duo of works today: one by Olivier Messiaen, one by Ottorino Respighi. This KЛИHOM post has been brought to you by the letter O and the numbers 4 and 5.

This is the fifth movement from Olivier Messiaen’s only symphony, the Turangalila-symphonie. Commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky, it is the second part of a trilogy based around the myth of Tristan and Isolde, in which it is preceded by the song cycle Harawi and succeeded by the choral work Cinq Rechants. The work prominently features the ondes Martenot, and this movement, titled “Joy of the Blood of the Stars”, is based around a fast variant of the symphony’s “statue theme.”

While all four movements of Ottorino Respighi’s 1924 work Pines of Rome are excellent, the first three can’t beat the fourth, “Pines of the Appian Way,” for sheer awe-inspiring brilliance. Written to depict a legion advancing triumphantly on the road to the capital, it follows movements depicting the titular pines at the Villa Borghese, near a catacomb, and at the Janiculum. According to noted font of facts Wikipedia, Pines of Rome, minus the second movement and the English horn solo from this movement, was used in Fantasia 2000 to accompany humpback whales. My Fantasia knowledge is sadly lacking.


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