Respighi, Ottorino


Respighi, Ottorino

Poema Autunnale for violin and orchestra (Piano reduction /Solo)

SKU: 770b Categories: ,


Respighi, Ottorino

Poema Autunnale for violin and orchestra (Piano reduction /Solo)

Calmo (p. 1) – Molto lento (p. 3) – Tempo I (p. 5) – Allegro moderato – Più allegro (p. 6) – Allegro con fuoco (p. 7) – Allegro con spirito (p. 10) – Un poco sostenuto (p. 12) – Allegro con spirito (p. 15) – Meno (p. 17) – Moderato (p. 19) – Tranquillo (p. 20) – Lento – Poco più mosso (p. 23) – Calmo come al principio (p. 24)

Ottorino Respighi, an accomplished player of the violin, viola, and piano, was especially forthcoming in music for the violin. As a young man he wrote a Concerto in A major (1903) and a Concerto all’antica (1908), both for violin and orchestra, and the years of his maturity witnessed the pinnacle of his works for the violin, the Concerto gregoriano, composed in Boscochiesanuova in August 1921, as well as the present Poema autunnale and finally the Concerto a cinque for oboe, trumpet, violin, double bass, piano, and strings (1933). He also produced arrangements with orchestral accompaniment of baroque violin works by Tartini, J. S. Bach, Vitali, Ariosti, and others. His equally rich output of chamber music for the violin is dominated by the Sonata in B minor for violin and piano, his most popular work for small forces (thanks to the championship of such celebrated virtuosos as Jascha Heifetz). This piece was composed in 1917 and premièred in Bologna on 3 March 1918 by Federico Sarti (violin) and the composer himself. The Poema autunnale, a nature portrait ingratiatingly written for the violin and magically orchestrated, has been recorded several times but has not yet found its way into the repertoire of the great violinists. The première has remained its most noteworthy performance in every respect.

Elsa Respighi (1894-1996), the composer’s widow, recalled these events in her biography, Ottorino Respighi: dati biografici ordinati (Milan: Ricordi, 1962): “On 11 August and 15 December 1929 the Poema autunnale for violin and orchestra was performed for the first time in the Augusteo in Rome. The soloist was Arrigo Serato, the conductor Bernardino Molinari. Its success, however, was limited, and Respighi himself regarded the work as a failure. I have no knowledge of the details surrounding the genesis of this composition. It is one of those pieces toward which I am utterly indifferent; Respighi did not play it to me until after he had finished composing it.”

Elsewhere she continues: “In order to treat my attacks of colic, we spent part of the autumn [of 1920] on doctor’s orders in the mountains, namely in Cavalese in the Val di Fiemme, where we had comfortable lodgings. It was here that Respighi composed his Quattro liriche su parole armene, the Poema autunnale, and the ballet Scherzo veneziano.” Many commentators have concluded from these accounts that the Poema autunnale was already composed in 1920 and not premièred until 1929. Both conclusions are incorrect. According to Potito Pedarra’s catalogue of his works (, Respighi composed the Poema autunnale in 1925, either before or (more probably) after the Concerto in modo misolidio for piano and orchestra. The piece is dedicated to the violinist Mario Corti (1882-1957), who had already given the première of the Concerto gregoriano (Rome, 5 February 1922), a piece dedicated to Respighi’s best man Arrigo Serato (1877-1948). A staunch friend of the composer since time immemorial, Corti was born in Guastalla, Reggio Emilia, and studied the violin with Adolfo Massarenti (1858-1923; see’%20History%20Map.html) and composition with Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) and Enrico Bossi (1861-1925) at the Liceo Musicale in Respighi’s native Bologna. He then became a professor of violin at Parma Conservatory (1907-13), the Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin (1914-15), and the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome (from 1915). Before the turn of the century Corti and Respighi had played in the Quintetto Mugellini, a piano quintet which consisted of the pianist and composer Bruno Mugellini (1871-1912), Mario Corti and Fantuzzi (violins), Respighi (viola), and another of Respighi’s lifelong confrères, the cellist Antonio Certani (1879-1952) and which concertized in the major cities of Italy as well as Berlin, London, and other European capitals. This time, however, it was not Corti who gave the work’s première: as the Poema autunnale had been accepted for publication by the Berlin firm of Bote & Bock, who duly issued the full score, orchestral parts, and a reduction for violin and piano in 1926, it seemed only logical to have the première given in Berlin by German musicians. And so indeed it happened on 11 November 1926, shortly after an all-Respighi concert performed on 11 November 1926 by the Berlin Philharmonic under Heinz Unger (b. 1919) and featuring the Belfagor Overture as well as the Berlin premières of the Concerto in modo misolidio (with Respighi himself) and the cantata Primavera. On 1 December, Georg Kulenkampff (1898-1948) gave the first public performance of the Poema autunnale, accompanied by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its new principal conductor, the eminent expressionist composer (and violist) Emil Bohnke (1888-1928). The rather unsuccessful Rome première described by Elsa Respighi was not given until 1929. Our volume is a faithful reproduction of the first edition issued in 1926, now appearing for the first time as a miniature score.

Translation: Bradford Robinson

For performance materials please contact the publisher Boosey & Hawkes/Bote & Bock, Berlin ( Reprint of a copy from the Musikabteilung der Leipziger Städtische Bibliotheken, Leipzig.

Score No.






You may also like…

Go to Top