The great Italian composer Ottorino Respighi is best known for his Roman trilogy, three massive tone poems treating some aspect of the Eternal City: pines, fountains, and festivals. What about organs?
My friend Steve just completed a diocesan pilgrimage. He and his wife are superb church musicians, a real blessing for the diocese and their respective parishes. While in Italy he had a chance to play on instruments in various places. He’s been sharing his travelogue with me and several friends via e-mail. I pass on the highlights to my commentariat and other observers.
On the left, above, is a view from their hotel balcony.
In Steve’s words:
Alice and I are now back from our pilgrimage to Rome with a group from our diocese led by the bishop. We served as “staff musicians” for 6 Masses: 4 in the major Roman Basilicas, 1 in the Vatican Parish Church, and 1 in the lower Basilica at Assisi. We share this with family and friends – both musicians and non-musicians. Non-musicians – feel free to skip over the commentary on the instruments.
The first day (Saturday) afforded us the opportunity to rest a bit and get settled in our room. We then walked across St. Peter’s Square to the “parish church” of the Vatican – Sant’Anna. This church seats about 100 and is quite ornate.
The organ console sits to one side of the sanctuary, and the pipes in a gallery opposite the console.
The stops are labeled in Italian, and it was a challenge figuring out which stops went with which division. The voicing seemed a bit bright and buzzy to me, but folks said it sounded nice in the main church.
I’ll post more on this liturgical travelogue as my friend distributes his images and stories. Stay tuned.