The music of Nino Rota is featured on this album with cellist Friedrich Kleinhapl and Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg conducted by Dirk Kaftan. Rota is a musical chameleon who convincingly conjures Mozart, 19th-century Romantics, or Hollywood. The first of his two cello concertos on the album is a romantic throwback to the 19th century, though written in 1972. Kleinhapl is a perfect choice to perform this work, for his playing is very agile and expressive. His tends to have a thinner, more lyrical style of playing, like a violin, and his bow technique is fluid, moving easily between the strings.
It's great to see the music of Nino Rota getting so much attention. He was a wonderful composer, and the ballet suite from La strada may be his orchestral masterpiece (just a quick note: the French language title identifies this as a suite from the eponymous film; it is in fact the more familiar arrangement of the later ballet). There are now four competitive recordings of this piece, the least interesting of which is on Chandos with the Teatro Massimo orchestra: not bad, but not as well played or recorded as either Muti's slightly stiff version with the excellent La Scala forces, or Atma's brilliant recent release featuring the Greater Montréal Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. All of the couplings differ in various ways, though Muti also has the dances from Il gattopardo (The Leopard).
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.
Peter Ustinov first assayed the role of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in this suspenseful 1978 murder mystery. Longtime Fellini collaborator (and Godfather composer) Nino Rota matches the onscreen tension.
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).
Inspired by the works of Italian medieval writer/poet Boccaccio (the Decameron), Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, and Vittorio de Sica each directed a short starring Anita Ekberg, Romy Schneider, and Sophia Loren, respectively; Italian soundtrack heavyweights Nino Rota and Armando Trovajoli provided the necessary musical accompaniment. The result was the film Boccaccio 70 and music that frames a kaleidoscope of styles with dramatic panache. Trovajoli, in particular, mixes it up with cha-cha-chas, march pieces, waltzes, circus themes, and jazz – the highlight, though, is his Latin vocal feature, "Soldi! Soldi! Soldi!," sung by a surprisingly effective Loren. Unlike Trovajoli, Rota doesn't focus on one style per piece, but instead fills his symphonic-worthy sides with a seamless blend of many of the same styles, peppering the landscape with trademark doses of pipe-organ moodiness, can-can rhythms, and dusky string passages. And as far as jazz goes, Rota furnishes the Visconti segment with some very worthy combo ballads redolent of Miles Davis' own soundtrack venture, Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud.