Following the great success The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome, Respighi offers further proof of his supreme orchestral mastery with his set of "Four Symphonic Impressions," Church Windows (1927). Respighi held a lifelong fascination for early music and in middle age composed several works that look back to earlier eras, e.g., the Ancient Airs and Dances, The Birds, and the Concerto Gregoriano.Church Windows belongs to this group and makes use of fragments of Gregorian chant, incorporating melodies and harmonic structures from the older modes of the church. These modes are contained in a modern orchestral context, effectively marrying ancient and contemporary means of musical expression. The subject of Church Windows derives from traditional Italian religious scenes as viewed through the magnificent stained glass frescoes of the church.
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck.