Respighi: The Pines of Rome

Chad Shelton, Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra

(2 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: PCM 176.4 kHz
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The Pines of Rome is A Hi-Fi Spectacular! 

“Dazzling orchestral colors,” is one one way to describe the music of Ottorino Respighi on this album performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue. Belkis, Queen of Sheba was conceived as an evening-long ballet with singing whose lavishness has kept it from view since its La Scala premiere. This is only the second recording of a suite prepared by the composer – for the first time with the tenor solo (sung by Chad Shelton), and with the movements in the correct order.

The music’s oriental perfumes and barbaric splendor guarantee the enthusiasm of anyone who hears it. Dance of the Gnomes is a little-known but characteristically dramatic and colorful (some might say “lurid”) tone poem.

Prof. Johnson’s stunning sonics make Respighi’s The Pines of Rome (with extra brass and organ!) a dazzling conclusion to this unusual and inventive program. This track has been called “A Hi-Fi Spectacular”.

This album is available from NativeDSD Music in Stereo DSD 512, DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64, DXD & WAV 176.4k.  This is a DSD Exclusive, Not Available on SACD release.

Chad Shelton, Tenor
Minnesota Orchestra
Eiji Oue – Conductor & Musical Director


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Belkis: Queen of Sheba suite
Dance of the Gnomes
The Pines of Rome

Total time: 01:02:32

Additional information





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Associate Producer

Giancarlo Guerrero, Associate Conductor, Minnesota Orchestra

Executive Producer

Marcia Martin

Mastering Engineer

Paul Stubblebine



Original Recording Format


J. Tamblyn Henderson, Jr.

Recording Engineer

Keith O. Johnson

Recording Location

Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis MN on May 28–29, 2001

Studio Monitors

Studio Reference Monitors designed by Neil Patel and Keith Johnson, built by Avalon Acoustics, Boulder, Colorado

Release DateMay 2, 2023

Press reviews

SoundStage Network 5 out of 5

Among the most treasured of orchestral war-horses is Respighi’s Pines Of Rome. There have been quite a few versions available to music lovers in the 75 years since it was written. This new Reference Recording album is a welcome addition to that august company.

Of the other two works herein, Belkis, Queen Of Sheba Suite and Dance Of The Gnomes, one finds fewer options available, which is only one of the reasons why this album will be appreciated by both music lovers and audiophiles alike.

Reference Recording’s recent association with Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra has given a certain consistency to Reference’s orchestral sound. Here, Oue comes up with a masterful interpretation of the Pines that stands favorably with others I’ve heard.

But it is listening to the two other works presented here, The Dance Of The Gnomes and Belkis, Queen Of Sheba Suite, that may impress you most.

The sound given to this album by Keith Johnson stands up very favorably with the music. It’s wonderful. The bass foundation is full and deep, offering just the right balance for the orchestra. The strings sing sweetly, the drums boom appropriately, and the piano, when used (as in “The Pines Of The Janiculum”), is sized as you would hear it live. Add in a soundstage that is both wide and deep and you have a recording with very little to find fault with.

This Respighi recording continues Reference Recording’s run of outstanding newly recorded classical albums.

BBC Music Magazine

As a young man, Respighi went to study under Rimsky-Korsakov in Russia, and one can detect glimpses of the great man’s influence in the lush Romanticism of the ‘Pines of the Janiculum’ – a movement that also has a touch of the Impressionism of Debussy and Ravel about it.

It is here that the Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra come into their own. In superbly recorded sound, Oue carefully blends the various colors that make Respighi’s night-time soundscape so seductive, picking out details here and there but never over-emphasizing them – notice, for instance, how the cello solo is given a dreamy wistfulness by setting the player slightly back from the mic.

It’s extraordinarily atmospheric, and a timely reminder that Respighi’s Pines is not all about power and bombast.


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