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

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Program 224
"Nino Rota's Chamber Music"

MUSIC: beginning of Nino Rota: “Allegro” from Nonetto, performed by Kremerata Musica [BIS CD-870, Track 12] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman, and I’ve been discovering a treasure trove of beautiful chamber music by the Italian composer Nino Rota. Stay with me for the next hour and I’ll share the very best of it with you!

MUSIC: Fades out.

Nino Rota, who lived from 1911 until 1979, was best known for his film scores, so I’m going to start out with A Time for Us, a waltz from the 1968 Franco Zefirelli movie Romeo and Juliet. But the rest of this hour will be completely devoted to Rota’s neglected but charming chamber music. A Time for Us is from an Analekta CD of the same name, arranged by Marc Ouellette and performed by Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: “A Time for Us” from Romeo & Juliet, performed by Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà [Analekta AN 2 8736, Track 1]

A Time for Us from the motion picture Romeo and Juliet, music by Nino Rota, arranged by Marc Ouellette, and performed by Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà.

You may know that a quartet is for four instruments, a quintet is for five instruments, a sextet is for six instruments, a septet is for seven instruments, and an octet is for eight instruments. But do you know what a piece for nine instruments is called? In Italian, it’s called a nonetto, or, in English, a nonet. And that leads us to our major work for this hour, Nino Rota’s five-movement Nonetto for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
This work was written and revised from 1959 through 1977. It represents the sum of Rota’s work in the field of chamber music. Like so much of his music, it is happy, tuneful, and cheerful, and there is never a dull moment. This BIS recording features Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Musica recorded live at the 1996 Lockenhaus Festival in Austria.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: Noneto, performed by Kremerata Musica [BIS CD-870, Tracks 12-16]  [26:20]

Nino Rota’s Noneto performed by the Kremerata Musica.
You are listening to the “Chamber Music of Nino Rota” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide to musical discoveries, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total program timing]

Now, for a complete change of pace, let’s listen to one of Nino Rota’s Seven Piano Pieces for Children. This one is called Cantilena. It is played by Mascha Smirnov. Rota wrote these pieces starting in 1971 for conservatory pupils. He was director of the Bari Conservatory for a quarter of a century, and had lots of experience as a music teacher.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: "Cantilena" from Sette pezzi per bambini for piano solo, performed by Mascha Smirnov [BIS CD-870, Track 9]  [1:52]

Nino Rota’s "Cantilena" from Seven Piano Pieces for Children, performed by Mascha Smirnov. I wish Mrs. Toft had given me pieces like that to play when I was a child learning how to play the piano!

Rota’s Intermezzo for Viola and Piano has been so forgotten that it is not even certain when he wrote it. The program notes accompanying the BIS CD state that it was composed about 1945.  It is over eight minutes long and contains a varied succession of musical episodes: dances, romanzas, marches, and melancholy tunes. In this recording, Gérard Caussé is the violist; Alena Chernushenko, the pianist.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: Intermezzo per Viola e Pianoforte, performed by Gérard Caussé, viola; Alena Chernushenko, piano. [BIS CD-870, Track 10]  [8:40]

Gérard Caussé was the violist and Alena Chernushenko, the pianist, in this recording of Nino Rota’s Intermezzo for Viola and Piano.

You are listening to “Nino Rota’s Chamber Music” on Compact Discoveries. And I have one more treat for you to complete this hour: Rota’s Saraband and Toccata for Harp, performed by Maria Graf. This work is from 1945. It was dedicated to Clelia Gatti Aldrovandi, a great harpist and wife of Guido Gatti, a distinguished musicologist and manager of the emerging Italian cinema industry. Guido Gatti was partly responsible for the introduction of Rota to the world of movie soundtracks.
MUSIC: Nino Rota: Saraband and Toccata for Harp, performed by Maria Graf, harp. [BIS CD-870, Tracks 2 and 3]  [7:14]

Nino Rota’s Saraband and Toccata for Harp, performed by Maria Graf.

And that concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I devoted to “Nino Rota’s Chamber Music.” I hope you enjoyed the selections.

If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to 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 224. 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 I’m Fred Flaxman. Many thanks for listening!

MUSIC: excerpt from Nino Rota: “A Time for Us” from Romeo & Juliet, performed by Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà [Analekta AN 2 8736, Track 1] [music fades out for announcer]

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  And by an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz. And by ArkivMusic dot com, the online store for classical music CDs, DVDs, downloads, and over 10,000 on-demand reissued titles. That’s A-r-k-i-v Music dot com.

Program Ends at 57:00