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Ottorino Respighi: "Huntingtower: Ballad for Band"

Huntingtower: Ballad for Band

Ottorino Respighi

Born: July 9, 1879, Bologna, Italy

Died: April 18, 1936 Rome, Italy

Composed: 1932

Duration: 7 minutes

Ottorino Respighi composed Huntingtower in 1932, on a commission from the American Bandmaster’s Association (ABA), in honor of the recently deceased conductor and musical icon, John Philip Sousa. Edwin Franko Goldman and the ABA approached Respighi shortly after Sousa’s death, hoping for a work that the United States Army Band could perform on their upcoming memorial concert only six short weeks later, on April 17, 1932 (the same concert where they premiered Holst’s Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo). Respighi responded with Huntingtower: Ballad for Band, based upon his impressions of a visit to Huntingtower Castle in Scotland, a fifteenth-century fortress supposedly haunted by the ghost of a “Lady Greensleeves.” Respighi’s Huntingtower implies various potential associations with the grey Scottish landscape and is dotted with idiomatic folk rhythms, especially in the latter portions of the piece. While it may be a curious epitaph to the March King, it does remain Respighi’s only work for band.

Ottorino Respighi, Huntingtower: Ballad for Band

The United States Air Force Band, Col Lowell Graham, conductor

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