Respighi: The Adoration of the Magi (from ‘Three Botticelli Pictures’)


Respighi’s wonderfully exotic interpretation of Botticelli’s masterpiece ‘Adoration of the Magi’. Lovely Christmas music for wind quintet and piano.

  • Instruments : Fl., Ob., Cl. (in A), Hn., Bsn., Pno
  • Difficulty : D/E – approx. ABRSM Grade 7-8
  • Duration : 6’15″‘
  • ISMN : 979-0-708141-55-6
  • Portus Press reference : PPQP21


Three Botticelli Pictures (Trittico Botticelliano) (1927) by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) is his musical interpretation of three of the Renaissance master’s paintings which today hang in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery: La Primavera (Spring), L’Adorazione dei Magi (The Adoration of the Magi), and La nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus).

The second movement  – arranged here – depicts the Nativity scene in which the Three Kings kneel before the Holy Family in the stable, bearing gifts.  Respighi’s colourful score prominently features the woodwind – no doubt inspired by Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration – and the bassoon assumes a leading role with solos which both open and conclude this movement.

Oriental and exotic flavours abound but the plainchant Advent antiphon Veni Emmanuel (which is still sung today as O Come, O Come Emmanuel) and the popular 18th-century Italian carol, Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Came Down from the Stars) are also thrown into the mix adding a sprinkle of Christmas music more familiar to Western European ears.

Score Preview

   LISTEN – clip 1 (opening)

   LISTEN – clip 2


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