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Film Music Masterworks - Nino Rota

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Album Review

Silva Screen Records keeps the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra busy re-recording music from film scores, which the label then repackages in a variety of thematic compilations. Do a version of "The Godfather Waltz" from The Godfather, for example, and it can be used and reused in collections devoted to, say, music from gangster films or music from the films of Marlon Brando or, as here, an album dedicated to the work of composer Nino Rota, as part of a series of CDs each called "Film Music By...," other composers including Ennio Morricone, John Williams, and Bernard Herrmann. The 13 tracks here, running between two and seven minutes each, tend to present suites summarizing Rota's scores, mostly for the films of Federico Fellini, although also included is music from The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet (Rota's hit love theme, of course), and Death on the Nile, with the disc bookended by "The Godfather Waltz" and that movie's love theme, "Speak Softly Love." The music isn't all sadly romantic, by any means; the main theme from Fellini Satyricon and "Otto e Mezzo" from 8½ are quite playful, in fact. Annotator Michael Beek of Music from the Movies magazine quotes Fellini as saying of Rota, "He had a geometric imagination, a music approach worthy of celestial spheres. He thus had no need to see images from my movies… His world was inner, inside himself, and reality had no way to enter it." Maybe something was lost in translation, since this seems to imply that Rota wrote his music without having seen Fellini's films beforehand, and that would not explain, for example, how the score for Amarcord, truncated into a five-minute suite here, could so beautifully support the movie's lighthearted nostalgic mood. Maybe Fellini was great at describing his films to the composer.


Born: 03 December 1911 in Milan, Italy

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Famed for his inspired work with director Federico Fellini, Nino Rota was one of the most prolific and acclaimed film composers of his era, with a list of soundtrack credits ranging from La Dolce Vita to Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet to Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. Born December 3, 1911 in Milan. Italy, Rota was a child prodigy who had already written an opera and an oratorio prior to his fifteenth birthday; he subsequently studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia as well as...
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