My favorite movement. Much in the same way as the finale of Firebird.
The pines of the Appian Way....I have never seen them, but I know without a doubt that they are absolutely beautiful thanks to Mr. Respighi. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of reaction he had when he first encountered them as a young child. Such explosive sounds, and constant beating.
It is only 5:10 minutes long. I was barely able to write the preceding paragraph in the amount of time it took for the movement to sweep by. I am not sure that says more about the piece, or how slowly I type.
Now for the highlights:
The English horn. What a beautiful solo. it is precisely the thing needed to accompany the beginning this piece, and also to precede what is to come. If I were behind the pencil on this one, I could imagine myself writing that solo after I wrote the finale.
The bras build up is like musical candy., I almost feel guilty, like I am enjoying some kind of secret vice. The resulting pay off is perfect. It builds, dies, then returns with even more energy. The percussion is an exquisite blend of pulse, and accent. It gives us the right amount of foundation in which to rest this entire piece.
I am going to listen to it now over and over....so I cannot write anymore.