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Name of Work

Respighi, Ottorino (1879-1936)
Il tramonto (The Sunset) for mezzo-soprano, violin, viola, cello

Il tramonto


Nov 08, 2001

Susanne Mentzer, Mezzo-Soprano (vocal)
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Christopher Costanza, Cello

RESPIGHI-II tramonto

Composed in 1914

A characteristic figure among the non-French impressionists is Ottorino Respighi. He was not only influenced by Debussy, but also by Richard Strauss. From time to time he added a touch of the exotic that he had imbibed during a brief study with Rimsky-Korsakov. All of these various strands were combined with an extensive lyricism that is endemic to nineteenth and early twentieth century Italian composers.

Respighi wrote II tramonto, based on Shelley's poem "The Sunset" (translated into Italian by Roberto Ascoli), in 1914. The text describes a woman's memory of her dead lover and her subsequent life of endless mourning. Although Respighi transcribed the work for voice and string orchestra, as well as voice and piano, it is being performed tonight its original version for mezzo-soprano and string quartet. The strings are as eloquent as the voice in retelling the story, as, for example, in the beautiful cello solo as the "Lady found her lover dead and cold," or in the final ensemble that accompanies the peaceful epitaph at the close.

The Sunset, the original English poem of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Program notes by Dr. Thomas A. Brown

Performance date: November 8, 2001

Performance Audio