Pini di Roma

From Wind Repertory Project
Ottorino Respighi

Ottorino Respighi (trans. Ton van Grevenbroek)

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General Info

Year: 1924 / 2009
Duration: c. 22:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Molenaar Edition
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €287.59   |   Score Only (print) - €57.52 (movements 2 and 4 also available separately)


1. Pini di Villa Borghese
2. Pini presso una Catacomba
3. Pini del Gianicolo
4. Pini della Via Appia


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
A Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) is the second of three tone poems written by Respighi between 1917 and 1929. These tone poems are the most well-known works in his oeuvre. Pines of Rome combines his skill for colorful orchestration with his interest in early music, particularly medieval music and folk songs. This work is based on children’s folk tunes, which he learned from his wife.

Premiered on December 14, 1924, at the Teatro Augusteo in Rome, Pines of Rome initially received boos and hisses from the audience at the end of the first movement due to its “discordant trumpet writing,” and the nightingale sound at the end of the third movement wasn’t appreciated much either. The rest of the piece was well received, rewarded with a standing ovation. The work was premiered in the United States by Arturo Toscanini in 1926 and has since become a staple of the repertoire.

In four movements, Respighi notates specifically in the score how he envisioned each movement. He offers the following:

I. The Pines of Villa Borghese
Children are at play in the pine groves of Villa Borghese; they dance round in circles. They play at soldiers, marching and fighting, they are wrought up by their own cries like swallows at evening, they come and go in swarms.

II. Pines Near a Catacomb
Suddenly the scene changes -- we see the shades of the pine trees fringing the entrance to a catacomb. From the depth rises the sound of a mournful chant, floating through the air like a solemn hymn, and gradually and mysteriously dispersing.

IV. The Pines of the Appian Way
Misty dawn on the Appian Way: solitary pine trees guarding the magic landscape; the muffled, ceaseless rhythm of unending footsteps. The poet has a fantastic vision of bygone glories: trumpets sound and, in the brilliance of the newly risen sun, a consular army bursts forth towards the Sacred Way, mounting in triumph to the Capitol.

- Program note by Seth Wollam for the Lone Star Wind Orchestra

His symphonic poem The Pines of Rome was the second in a triptych of works paying tribute to The Eternal City. The piece’s first movement shows children playing outside the Villa Borghese, the opulent home of one of Rome’s most prominent 17th-century families. Pines Near a Catacomb depicts a solitary church in the middle of a Roman field dotted with pine trees, the section’s ominous melody building to a sweeping climax. In the third movement, Respighi paints a musical portrait of the Pines of the Janiculum at night. The Janiculum was one of Rome’s seven hills, so named because it was the site of temple of Janus, the Roman god of portals and the new year. In this section, Respighi specified the use of a gramophone recording of birdsong to capture the atmosphere perfectly. The work closes with a portrait of the pine tree-lined Appian Way, the military road of the Roman Republic. The Roman legions emerge from the mists, and the orchestra mirrors their approach, growing louder as the soldiers get closer to the Capitoline Hill. As the movement closes, the victorious warriors, led by the Republican Consul, arrive at the Capitol with the rising sun behind them, their glory reflected in the work’s jubilant closing pages.

The Pines of Rome was, and continues to be, a great success and popular favorite, so much so that Respighi used the money he made from it to buy a villa, which he appropriately named “The Pines.”

- Program Note by John Mangum for the Los Angeles Philharmonic


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Perusal score
  • Pines of Rome. Wikipedia. Accessed 21 February 2019
  • Respighi, O.; Grevenbroek, T. (2009). Pini di Roma : Complete Version ; For Band [score]. Molenaar: Wormerveer, Netherlands.