It’s been quite a while since I last posted. I seemed to get myself a bit stuck in the ‘R’s on my iPhone. I know that the LeapingTracks philosophy is supposed to be to write about what ever comes along next on the playlist. But hey. No-one’s perfect!
Anyway, I have done a bit of listening and here I am.
I once went to a lunchtime concert which I have never forgotten. That’s something pretty special, isn’t it. I can still remember where I was sitting in the hall. How the stage looked. The wacky hair of the cellist.
It was while I was working in London and it was totally random that I should go. A friend of mine called me one morning to say that he unexpectedly had a spare ticket for a concert that day at a nearby venue (St John’s Smith Square) and would I like to go. The main part of the programme was the Quintet for piano and strings in F minor P35 by Respighi.
At that time, I had never heard of Respighi, but I was free and am always up for doing something nice to break the day up. So off we went. And I was blown away by this chamber music.
I have always liked the piano quintet formation in any event – a string quartet with a piano added in. The combination is so rich and versatile. And Respighi makes good use of it in this work, which is passionate, lyrical and dramatic. The first movement (Allegro) sets up the whole work – poignant overtones – what can have gone wrong here? Two lovers parting? We can make up our own story of course. We then hear the Andante, which is very short and heartbreaking in its simplicity and beauty. The finale (Vivacissimo) reminds me of ballet music and I think of dancers running hither and thither, before the original theme returns to round off events. Right at the ending, things finish on an optimistic flourish, leaving me wanting to listen to the whole thing again straight away.
He has produced a range of other works – orchestral tone poems, other chamber works and some operas. But it is that quintet which is my first ‘Respighi go-to piece’.
I don’t think this composer is generally that well known, but he deserves more recognition in my view for some cracking work. Have a little listen and see what you think.