Richard Tognetti performing

DIVE IN: Respighi, Britten & Vasks

Posted on 27 Aug 2018 by Bernard Rofe

RESPIGHI Suite III from Ancient Airs and Dances

It may seem surprising, but for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the music of pre-Classical composers was largely unknown to the general concert-going public. Respighi’s three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances are inspired by his early studies as well as compositions he had re-discovered in Italian libraries, which he wanted to bring to life once again. These suites have since become extremely popular with modern audiences, and while the original composers would never have imagined hearing their music in Respighi’s modern settings, they surely would have been delighted to know their music was being enjoyed once again.

PĒTERIS VASKS Viatore for 11 solo strings

Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’ music pursues themes such as the complex interaction between man and nature, and the beauty of life pitted against the ecological and moral destruction of the world. Vasks writes that Viatore “tells the story of a wanderer who arrives in this world, grows up in it, develops, falls in love, fills himself up and then departs. The journey is illuminated by the endless and starry universe.” Viatore is dedicated to Arvo Pärt, whom he describes as “my guiding light for many decades.”

BRITTEN Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

Benjamin Britten, the major British composer of the 20th century, was Frank Bridge’s only composition student. Today, the composer Frank Bridge is known almost solely through this set of variations on the theme from the second of his Three Idylls. Britten decided that each of the ten variations should reflect an aspect of his teacher’s personality, namely his integrity, energy, charm, humour, tradition, enthusiasm, vitality, sympathy, reverence and skill. History often forgets great teachers, but Britten’s tribute ensures that his composition teacher will always be remembered.