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Respighi: Adoration Of The Magi

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Starry-eyed.

After composing the giant work Fontane di Roma, Ottorino Respighi was interested in writing for smaller ensembles. Some years later, he produced his Trittico Botticelliano, based on three paintings by Botticelli that hung in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. One of those was the one entitled L’adorazione dei Magi, which depicted the meeting of Melchior, Casper and Balthazar with the Holy Family. The story of their journey, guided by the Star of Bethlehem, and the bestowing of their gifts, were well known to the composer, and he added these ingredients to his musical picture. Respighi also used the hymn tune Veni Emmanuel at the beginning to depict the faith of the Wise Men, and concluded his musical picture with Melchior, Casper and Balthazar returning to their homes in the east.

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