Nino Rota Orchestral Works Vol 3
Ensemble: Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Direttore: Giussepe Grazioli
Le Moliere imaginaire (1976)
Prova d'orchestra Suite (1978)
Rabelaisiana for Soprano and Orchestra (1977)
Concerto for Piano in E minor "Piccolo mondo antico" (1978)
Record Label: Decca (CD: 481 0694 DH2 DDD CD)
CD Liner Notes/Description:
Prova dorchestra [Orchestra rehearsal] was the last collaboration between Fellini and Nino Rota. The film follows the travails of an orchestra rehearsal session that degenerates into a revolt and someone almost ends up being killed. Things are only cleared up when there is outside intrusion into the hall where the rehearsal is taking place, showing the awful fragility of the ferocious and quarrelsome species of animal that we are. To continue this sort of anthropological reading, while the killing might suggest a community under threat (the orchestra) making a human sacrifice in an attempt to find a cathartic salvation, the huge demolition ball that crashes into the building and opens up a whole new narrative dimension, is one of those Fellinian gimmicks: one that sends a powerful signal but is open to a host of different interpretations. Fellini made a point of saying that he took his inspiration from what he had observed at the recording sessions for the soundtracks to his films: the broad range of humanity represented by the musicians engaged for the sessions, and an often apathetic strain of humanity too, indifferent both to the work they are asked to do and the possibility of building relationships with their colleagues; a group of conscripts, a quarrelsome and potentially mutinous crew that, as if by magic, as soon as its members start to make music, becomes something harmonious, entirely at odds with the hitherto prevailing mood. As is always the case with Fellini, this is one part of the whole, the one that probably helped him to control his crew of actors and collaborators. But looking only at Rotas score, prepared long in advance for its use on set, since it was essential to the filming, we find a cyclical suite in 5 sections [the final piece being a mirror of the first] which is a kind of summing up of the two artists lives. Together, Fellini and Rota had established an utterly distinctive musical language that was able to deal again and again with an infinite number of variations with the dramatic situations that repeatedly arise in Fellinis cinematic language. Here the music conjures up a cheerful collective light-heartedness in the opening of Risatine maliziosie, embittered melancholy in I gemelli all specchio, a waltz Valzerino no. 72 that trips lightly between Laurel and Hardy (are these our two artists?) and then suddenly swells into the utmost sadness, only to fade away into an interlude, Attesa, where the listener is transfixed by a languid string melody that disappears into nothing. The sounds of a celesta opens the piece that is the heart of the work (and also the film): a Galop that takes on board a good deal of music from the first half of the twentieth century as it races along. As the accumulated material becomes more and more contrasting and explosive there comes an enormous crash, similar to the one in Passerella di addio that Rota composed for the soundtrack for 8 1/2. But where in the Passerella the screen imagery is matched by the sound of a solitary flute vanishing in the distance, here the loud, abrupt crash generates only an echo, out of which emerges a repeat of the skipping Risatine maliziosie tune. This time it develops into a trumpet theme (the trumpet being, together with the violin, the principal instrument of Fellinis films) which is then taken up by the strings.
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