Nino Rota’s reputation outside Italy as, at best, a civilised purveyor of minor theatre music is turning out to be hardly even a half-truth. BIS’s series of his symphonic and chamber works, and Chandos’s of the concertos, reveals a composer of incisive gifts and technical brilliance. Civilised the music certainly is, but often far more than that, its pervasive wit enhancing rather than detracting from the elegant suggestions of deep feeling. The wise and wily ‘neo-classicism’ of the Third Symphony sets out like an exercise in updated Mozart, but though Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony is brought to mind it soon becomes evident that a strain of acid melancholy undercuts the dapper phraseology. The model here, if there is one, seems more likely to be late Busoni, with disturbing cross-currents just beneath the surface. The Concerto festivo, more obviously a display piece, takes Italian opera genres (aria, cabaletta, etc) and reinterprets them in fairly irreverent orchestral terms, while the ballet music that Rota produced for the tercentenary of the death of Molière – almost his last work –insouciantly mixes Baroque, modern and popular styles, just as it mixes merriment and melancholy, with constant technical brilliance and utter lack of pomposity. The Swedish performers take to the Italianate gaiety as to the manner born. A delightful disc.
The concert works of film composer Nino Rota, best known for his scores for the Godfather trilogy and for a long series of films by Federico Fellini, have increasingly often been finding space in classical recording catalogs. Here's a nicely recorded rendering of Rota's two numbered symphonies, virtually unknown until perhaps the turn of the century, issued on a major British label, Chandos. Both are attractive pieces that could be profitably programmed by any symphony orchestra. They were composed in the 1930s, when Rota was as much American as Italian; he won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and studied there for several years. Both reflect the French neo-classic trends that flourished in the U.S. between the wars, and, although Rota sounds nothing like Copland, you do experience in these works an evocation of what annotator Michele Rene Mannucci aptly calls "landscape in sound." Each work is in the conventional four movements, with a slow movement placed second in the Symphony No. 1 in G major and third in the Symphony No. 2 in F major.
The greatest film hits of Nino Rota. Including "The Godfather I-II-III", various Fellini films, "Romeo & Juliet", "Death on The Nile" and many others, performed by Solisti e Orchestre del Cinema Italiano. Nino Rota was an Italian composer, pianist, conductor and academic who is best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. He also composed the music for two of Franco Zeffirelli's Shakespeare films, and for the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II (1974).
Nino Rota (1911-79) is best known for his many film scores. That doesn't mean that he couldn't write great music for other purposes, as this highly interesting program demonstrates. His idiom is conservative harmonically but highly imaginative, full of melody and mood. All three of these pieces have been recorded before. If you don't have them yet, these performances are done with conviction. Bronzi is a good conductor as well as a fine cellist; and his reading of the Concerto for Strings is intense and well balanced ………Fanfare, Raymond Tuttle, Nov/Dec 2009
This original soundtrack by Nino Rota even was among the nominations for oscar 1968, but over time has served to elevate above all the love theme of the soundtrack (commercially titled 'A time for us'), which has been covered by a huge number of big bands and performers. The recording of the soundtrack for the film was commercially released in other versions (up arrangements with other authors) and including the most important dialogues, but this Capitol recording is precisely the only including exclusive soundtrack, directed by Rota itself, excluding these dialogues.