Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Program 222
"The Music of Nino Rota"


MUSIC:
beginning of Nino Rota: Suite dal balletto “La Strada”, performed by Orquesta Ciudad de Granada conducted by Josep Pons [Harmonia Mundi HMC 901864, Track 1] [fades out]

    Hello and welcome to another hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman. If you recognize the name Nino Rota, it’s probably because you’ve enjoyed his film-scores for such New Wave classics as La Strada, Amarcord, The Godfather, 8-½, and Rocco and His Brothers.

    Rota was an extraordinarily prolific composer. He wrote more than 150 scores for Italian and international movies from the 1930s until his death in 1979. That’s an average of three scores each year over a 46-year period. And in his most productive period, from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, he wrote as many as ten scores every year, and sometimes more, with a remarkable 13 film scores to his credit in 1954.

    But he was an equally prolific composer of other music as well: He wrote more than 150 concert works, including ten operas, five ballets, and dozens of other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. On top of that he maintained a long teaching career at the Liceo Musicale in Bari, Italy, where he was the director for almost 30 years.

    Stay with me for the next hour and we’ll sample a very small but beautiful portion of Rota’s tremendous output. First we’ll listen to a 2013 Channel Classics multi-channel, surround-sound, super audio, stereo, all-digital recording of his Divertimento Concertanto for Double Bass and Orchestra. Then we’ll have time for the Symphonic Suite from the Ballet, “La Strada,” which was derived from the film score.

    Nino Rota wrote his Divertimento concertante for the Italian double bass virtuoso Franco Petracchi when Rota was director of the conservatory in Bari and Petracchi was professor of double bass there.
    
It is written in a neo-classical style that Haydn, Mozart, and Rossini probably would have been able to understand. According to Petracchi, Rota drew the theme in the final movement from Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

    The double-bass player in this recording is Rick Stotijn, who graduated with the highest distinction from the Amsterdam Conservatory and has gone on to win many music competitions. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted in a live recording by Mats Rondin.

MUSIC:
Nino Rota: Divertimento Concertanto for Double Bass and Orchestra, performed by Rick Sotijn, double bass, with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mats Rondin [Channel Classics CCS SA 33613, Tracks 5- 8]

    Nino Rota’s Divertimento Concertanto for Double Bass and Orchestra, performed by Rick Sotijn, double bass, with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mats Rondin.

    You are listening to “The Music of Nino Rota” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional 60-second break not included in the total timing of this program]

    Nino Rota wrote film scores for Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, and Francis Ford Coppola. One of the most famous of these was for Fellini’s 1954 film, La Strada. Twelve years later, in 1966, Rota introduced at La Scala in Milan a ballet in twelve tableaux derived from the score of La Strada, which was still showing in movie theaters all over the world.  At the same time he also made a symphonic suite from the ballet. Let’s listen to this suite now as performed on a 2005 Harmonia Mundi recording by the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada conducted by Josep Pons.

MUSIC:
Nino Rota: Symphonic Suite from La Strada, performed by Orquesta Ciudad de Granada conducted by Josep Pons [Harmonia Mundi HMC 901864, Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7]

    Nino Rota’s Symphonic Suite from “La Strada,” performed by Orquesta Ciudad de Granada conducted by Josep Pons. 
 
    And that concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I devoted to “The Music of Nino Rota.” I hope you enjoyed the music.

    If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet, where you’ll find links to stream Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. You’ll also find information on every recording used in every program. This is program number 222. You can also tune in to Compact Discoveries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year on the SKY.FM Compact Discoveries Channel. You’ll find that at www.sky.fm/compactdiscoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman. Many thanks for listening!

ANNOUNCER
(Tana Flaxman): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers, offering Fred Flaxman’s Pinnacle-Award-winning, tongue-in-cheek memoir, Sixty Slices of Life… on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster, available in paperback and e-book formats at Amazon.com. And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and by an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida.

Program Ends at 57:00