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

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Program 227
"More Nino Rota Concertos"

MUSIC: beginning of Nino Rota: Bassoon Concerto: Toccata, performed by Paolo Carlini, bassoon, with I Virtuosi Italiani conducted by Marzio Conti [Chandos CHAN 9754, Track 4] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. Iím Fred Flaxman, and Iíve been having a wonderful time discovering delightful music by the Italian composer Nino Rota. Iíd like to share some of it with you on this hour of Compact Discoveries. Stay with me and weíll listen to the first recordings of Rotaís Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, his Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, and his Castel del Monte: Ballad for Horn and Orchestra.

MUSIC:
Fades out.

Nino Rota, who lived from 1911 until 1979, was best known for his film scores. He wrote about 150 of them. But he also wrote about the same number of concert works, and Iíve presented several of them in other hours of Compact Discoveries.

Rota was born in Milan into a musical family. He was the son of a pianist and grandson of the pianist and composer Giovanni Rinaldi. He began to study music in very early childhood and was writing his first compositions at the age of eight.

In 1923 he gained admission to the Milan Conservatory. He completed his studies in Rome under the tutelage of Alfredo Casella, and received his diploma in composition from the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in 1930 when he was only 19.

He was encouraged by Arturo Toscanini to move to the United States, where he lived from 1930 until 1932. He won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he was taught conducting by Fritz Reiner and had Rosario Scalero as an instructor in composition. Then Rota returned to Italy and earned a degree in literature from the University of Milan. In 1937 he began a teaching career that led to the directorship of the Bari Conservatory, a title he held from 1950 until his death in 1979.

One of the things I appreciate most in the music of Nino Rota is that he showed absolutely no inclination to align himself with avant-garde experimentalism and atonality. Yet he developed a style of his own, which though melodious and often romantic in feel, nevertheless is modern. In fact he seems more influenced by jazz harmonies and popular music than by many of his 20th Century contemporary composers. And this goes for his concert hall music as well as it does for his film scores.

Rotaís Concerto for Harp and Orchestra was written in 1947 for the harpist Clelia Gatti Aldrovandi, who gave its first performance four years later, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini. Itís a work of great beauty, revealing Rotaís complete mastery of the harpís expressive possibilities. The slow movement is melancholy and intensely melodic. It displays Rotaís gifts as an outstandingly subtle orchestrator.

In this Chandos digital recording, the harpist is Luisa Prandina and Marzio Conti conducts I Virtuosi Italiani.

MUSIC:
Nino Rota: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, performed harpist Luisa Prandina with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani [Chandos CHAN 9754, Tracks 1, 2, and 3] [20:52]

Nino Rotaís Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, performed harpist Luisa Prandina with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani.

You are listening to ďMore Concertos by Nino RotaĒ on this hour of Compact Discoveries. Iím your guide, Fred Flaxman.

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

As much as I like Rotaís Harp Concerto, my favorite piece on this Chandos CD so far is his Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. It was written from 1974 to 1977, nearly 30 years after the Harp Concerto.  The Bassoon Concerto has an unusual structure, starting with a Toccata movement followed by a Recitativo movement, and concluding with a Theme and Variations, or, as itís marked in Italian, Tema e Variazioni. As you can tell, I canít speak Italian, but wish I could!

The bassoonist in this recording is Paolo Carlini, and once again we hear I Virtuosi Italiani conducted by Marzio Conti.

MUSIC:
Nino Rota: Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, performed bassoonist Paolo Carlini with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani [Chandos CHAN 9754, Tracks 4, 5, and 6] [17:03]

Nino Rotaís Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. Paolo Carlini was the soloist with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani

Rotaís Castel del Monte, a ballad for French horn and orchestra, was written in 1974 and first performed the following year by soloist Domenico Ceccarossi, to whom the work is dedicated. The title refers to the famous Italian 13th Century castle built by the emperor Frederick II. The humor of the concluding section reminds me of Prokofiev.

Guido Corti is the horn soloist with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani from the same Chandos compact disc as the two pieces we heard earlier in this hour.

MUSIC:
Nino Rota: Castel del Monte, performed by Guido Corti, French horn, with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani [Chandos CHAN 9754, Track7] [10:07]

Nino Rotaís Castel del Monte, Ballad for Horn and Orchestra, performed Guido Corti, French horn, with Marzio Conti conducting I Virtuosi Italiani.

And that brings this hour of Compact Discoveries to a close. I hope you enjoyed these Nino Rota pieces for harp, bassoon, and French horn and orchestra. If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com, where youíll find links to stream Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. Youíll also find information on every recording used in every program. This is program number 227. 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. Youíll find that at www.sky.fm/compactdiscoveries. Iím Fred Flaxman. Many thanks for listening!

MUSIC:
beginning of Nino Rota: Bassoon Concerto: Toccata, performed by Paolo Carlini, bassoon, with I Virtuosi Italiani conducted by Marzio Conti [Chandos CHAN 9754, Track 4]

ANNOUNCER
(Tana Flaxman): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers, offering Fred Flaxmanís Pinnacle-Award-winning, tongue-in-cheek memoir, Sixty Slices of LifeÖ 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. Thatís A-r-k-i-v Music dot com.

Program Ends at 57:00