Pini di Roma, is actually a symphonic poem
There is nothing special about the pines in Rome. In fact, these are basically like any other pine. So why the fuss over Pines of Rome? If you’re not a local of the Eternal City, or if you’re not a diehard musician, you would certainly think that I am over reacting to a certain tree specie.
Pines of Rome, or Pini di Roma, is actually a symphonic poem written in 1924 by the Italian composer, Ottorino Respighi. This musician was born in Bologna, north of Italy. He acquired his education in the same place and started his career as a violinist, viola player, and pianist playing in the opera house in his birthplace until he was twenty-one years old. He became a member of the opera orchestra in St. Petersburg, went on to become a professor in composition at the St. Cecilia conservatoire in Rome, and was later on appointed as the Director of the Conservatoire. His resignation in 1926 was to give way to his passion for composing. The Pines of Rome was Respighi’s second of three symphonic poems about Roman subjects.
The Pines of Rome had its initial performance on December 14, on the same year it was written. Held at the Teatro Augusteo in Rome, the first movement of the Pines of Rome elicited boos from the audience. However, the finale has gotten their interest which earned the performance a standing ovation. The debut performance of the Pines of Rome has given it its popularity.
There are four sections that make up the Pines of Rome
. These sections, which are played non stop, are:
Pini di Villa Borghese is the first theme of the tone poem. This part speaks about the pines of Villa Borghese and the children playing under the shadows of these trees. Villa Borghese is home to a wide variety of trees, but an area in the villa, Piazza di Siena, is where the best pines are.
Pini presso una catacomba is the second part of Pines of Rome which is in sharp contrast to the first one. This has a somewhat gloomy theme to it as it talks about pines that can be seen near a catacomb. Cypresses lined the catacombs of S. Callisto which is believed to be a sign of mourning.
Pini di Gianicolo is the third section of the poem. It describes how Gianicolo is richly-decorated with pine trees which are all beautifully illuminated by the moon at night. The musical poem also describes a nightingale singing perched atop a Gianicolo pine.
The Pines of Rome is not only a great contribution to music, but it is also a fascinating way of describing the city’s rich culture and natural treasures.