Respighi – Gli Uccelli (The Birds) Suite for Orchestra, P. 154

by Max Derrickson

Ottorino Respighi     (b Bologna, Italy, July 9, 1879; Rome, April 18, 1936)

Gli Uccelli (The Birds) Suite for Orchestra, P. 154
1. Prelude
2. The Dove
3. The Hen
4. The Nightingale
5. The Cuckoo

Besides the fantastic and colossal orchestral tone poems (the Pines and Fountains of Rome) that Italian composer Respighi is so well known for, he held high regard for older music, especially that for harpsichord and lute from the 17th and 18th Centuries.  Several of his best compositions are informed by these old pieces, including this delightful portrait suite of birds, Gli Uccelli.

In this work, the melodies are based on actual Renaissance and Baroque pieces about birds, but Respighi creates amazing orchestral worlds around those old melodies.  All charm and friskiness, the pieces capture wonderfully the essences of birds – their grace in soaring and their lilting song, their darting movements and