Pines of Rome

Home Forums Coffee Break Pines of Rome

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #104363

    Is the Pines of Rome really hard? I was offered the part and the director is not ordering the part until she knows I am doing it. It might be too much for me because I have my SAT test and a wedding gig


    I’m not particularly experienced or particularly good and I survived it fairly well when my community band played it last fall. It was certainly a stretch for my level, but a very good one and it improved my playing and confidence considerably. If you have at least a few months you should be able to get it under your belt in time. The first movements has some spots but the third is where the action is and where the harp is quite important.

    The first movement is the most fun. It has lots of fff and ffff
    glissandos, tons of them, and if you didn’t have good callouses before
    you will after playing that movement a few times. More to the point, you’ll have gigantic blisters about three seconds after your first time, and callouses once those heal. I played it with picks
    in dress rehearsal and the concert, and discovered that when a pick hit the bass wires at ffff, the string can vibrate enough to knock the pick out of your fingers and launch it into the horn section. I’m sure the composer intend that effect, so just go with it. It also has some quickly moving block chords which are
    tricky, but you can simplify them a bit or take a hand out. In
    addition, the block chords are doubled by the piano and other instruments.

    The second movement isn’t hard and sounds cool. Some 6/4 and 5/4 measures can throw your counting off if you’re not careful, so count well, know what is going on around you, and listen a lot.

    The third movement has a lot of pedaling in it and is extremely exposed, plus you have to listen and count carefully for your initial entrance. The beat isn’t very pronounced and it’s easy to get lost, and you’re the one who starts off the main part of the movement. One of the orchestral excerpt books has that part of that movement as well, and that transcription is easier to follow than the actual part, so you might try to find it or see if your teacher knows which one it’s in, and hopefully has all the markings handy that you can copy onto your part. Some of the pedal changes can be moved a beat or two before or after where they’re printed, and a couple spots are much easier to pedal that way. It also has some tinkly measures of 32d notes in the right hand against some 9ths and 16ths in the left, but when you hear the whole ensemble there you realize it’s not so bad and the important part is to hit a couple glissandos well. Then you get a lovely solo of left hand harmonics, which is the entire reason Respighi wrote the whole piece, so enjoy it.

    The fourth has only a few measures and they’re super easy. When you get lost counting the rests in the fourth movement, just remember to listen for the English horn entrance doing a snake dance type of thing, which is 4 measures before you come in and easy to hear. You play almost the same measure over and over, so if you hear a second batch of low horns enter, you’ve kept repeating too long and should stop. Fortunately the harmony and beat are still the same and you could keep playing that measure another 25 minutes and sound fine, but Respighi wanted the harpist to go reserve some tables for dinner or something while everybody else finished the piece, so stop playing and wait for the end. Or go make sure the pub has your room reserved for post-concert party, but be back before the last note, as the harp might get its own bow.


    I have an edition of the very exposed harp part in the slow movement, I Pini del Gianicolo. I have just emailed it to you and you can see if it is useful to you.

    Philippa mcauliffe


    Awesome advice Kreig! I found out the performance is the same day as my SAT so I’m not doing it. I will remember this info

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.