Respighi Meets Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli Adoration of the Magi 2
Sandro Botticelli’s “Adoration of the Magi” (1475)


Ottorino Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures), written in 1927, was inspired by the work of Italian Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli. The second movement is a musical depiction of Botticelli’s famous nativity scene, Adoration of the Magi. 

Color and atmosphere are important elements in Respighi’s music. Notice the distinct voices of the bassoon and oboe and the contrast between the dark, velvety strings and the shimmering timbre of the flute. Towards the end of the movement, you may hear a moment of subtle illumination.

In the painting, Botticelli replaces the backdrop of the stable with ruins of ancient Rome. Respighi also draws on history, quoting Veni, Veni Emmanuel, which has roots in ninth century antiphon. Listen to Zoltán Kodály’s choral arrangement of Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel here.

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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