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

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Program 225
"Nino Rota's Piano Concertos"

MUSIC: beginning of Nino Rota: Piano Concerto in E Minor, performed by Janne Mertanen, piano, with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu [Alba ABCD 310, Track 1] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman, and I’ve been discovering a treasure trove of beautiful music by the Italian composer Nino Rota. Stay with me for the next hour and I’ll introduce you to two of his piano concertos.

MUSIC: Fades out.

Nino Rota, who lived from 1911 until 1979, was best known for his film scores. He wrote about 150 of them, after all. But he also wrote about the same number of concert works, including four piano concertos. If I don’t talk too much and get right to the music, we’ll have time to listen to two of them in this hour of Compact Discoveries.

Rota did not think his early, undated Piano Concerto in C Major worthy of an opus number. The Concerto in C Major to which Rota did give an opus number was composed in 1959-1960, and is dedicated to his friend, the legendary pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

In this truly exciting 2010 Alba super audio CD recording, multi-award-winning Finnish pianist Janne Mertanen performs with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of the Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: Piano Concerto in C Major (1959-60), performed by pianist Janne Mertanen with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu [Alba ABCD 310, Track3 4, 5, and 6]  [24:24]

Nino Rota’s Piano Concerto in C Major from 1959-1960. Pianist Janne Mertanen performed with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu.

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

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

Nino Rota’s Piano Concerto in E Minor was written in 1978. It was the last work Rota ever wrote before his death in 1979. It is broader and more epic than his earlier concertos. Its subtitle, “Piccolo mondo antico/The Little Ancient World” suggests nostalgia and reminiscence, but it may also be an allusion to the historical drama, Piccolo mondo antico, directed by Mario Soldati in 1941, one of the few Italian movies, it seems, for which Rota did not write the music. Rota was still able to be the soloist at the premiere performance in December 1978.

This piece is on the same Alba recording as Rota’s Piano Concerto in C Major, which we just heard, with pianist Janne Mertanen performing with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu.

MUSIC: Nino Rota: Piano Concerto in E Minor (1978), performed by pianist Janne Mertanen with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu [Alba ABCD 310, Tracks 4, 5, and 6]  [24:24]

Nino Rota’s very last composition: his Piano Concerto in E Minor from 1978. Janne Mertanen was the pianist with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu.

And that concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I devoted to two of Nino Rota’s four piano concertos. 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 225. 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 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 58:00