Nino Rota Music For Film

Category Discography

Riccardo Muti conducts the Filarmonica Della Scala

Brani/Track List:

  • The Godfather & The Godfather, Part II
  1. Sicilian Pastorale
  2. The Immigrant
  3. The Pickup
  4. Kay
  5. Love Theme
  6. A New Carpet
  7. Godfather's Waltz
  8. End Title
  1. La passerella di addio
  1. La tromba di Polydor
  • Prova D'Orchestra / The Orchestra Rehearsal
    Sugar Music
  1. Risatine Maliziose (Malinconiche)
  2. I Gemelli allo Specchio
  3. Valzerino No. 72
  4. Attesa
  5. Galop
  6. Risatine Maliziose (Finale)
  • Rocco e i suoi Fratelli / Rocco and his Brothers
    Sugar Music
  1. Titoli
  2. Canzone Barese ("Paese Mio")
  3. Milano e Nadia
  4. Terra Lontana
  5. Finale - Nadia
  1. Titoli
  2. Viaggio a Donnafugata
  3. Angelica e Tancredi
  4. Angelica e Tancredi
  5. I Sogni del Principe
  6. Partenza di Tancredi
  7. Amore e ambizione
  8. Quasi in porto
  9. Finale

Casa Dicografica/Record Label : Sony Classical (CD: SK 63359)

Note alle discografia/Line Notes:

Nino Rota: Music for the Movies, on and off stage

A strange fate awaits music written for movies. A composer meticulously prepares the score for a soundtrack, frequently after tense interchanges with the director; once the recording is completed, the work becomes an integral part of the film, and the composer puts it behind him. In most cases when a movie is a big hit, its incidental music is an integral part of its success, and a record is released of the original soundtrack. If the music then hits the charts, the main themes are picked up by numerous musicians who put out a wide gamut of new arrangements. And what happens to the original version as conceived by the composer? More often than not, the film's scores are abandoned or destroyed once they have served their purpose and sunk into oblivion.

This is why the work of researching and compiling the repertory for a disc of music for the movies is often an adventurous pursuit full of surprises. If, in addition, we are dealing with a composer such as Nino Rota, who was notoriously untidy and disorganized, then we are facing a truly challenging undertaking. However Rota, who composed more than 150 soundtracks and an equal amount of "serious" music, did try, in his disorganized manner, to keep all the papers containing his compositions, even if a few slipped through the cracks. Thus, thanks to his private archives which his heirs donated to the G. Cini Foundation of Venice, it has been possible to put together the program for this disc on the basis of Rota's original writings and thereby enable the performers to play this music as he had conceived it, free from those little mutilations and changes that the synchronizing and editing of movies demand.

The first suite in this collection comprises a number of excerpts from the soundtracks to Francis Ford Coppola's films The Godfather (1972) and Godfather II (1974). The music composed for this motion picture saga represents some of the least known movie music in its original version, perhaps precisely because of the enormous popularity of the main themes. You will hear on this record excerpts composed for the movie story and used as leitmotifs to link strongly contrasting dramatic highlights of the plot. Thus, love is death's dance partner in the Godfather's Waltz, a theme featured in the dance of the wedding couple and recurring as background music for each successive killing. The heartrending homesickness for the lost fatherland also represents the bright hope for a new start in the theme of The Immigrant. But beyond this special purpose and function that the director assigns to the musical accompaniment, Rota has added a note to the composition of the very famous Love Theme which explains, better than any analysis, the spirit and sentiment behind this music: Love Scene: "Motif as in a Sicilian romance or opera" — "the sound of mandolins and guitars playing outside." Federico Fellini and. Nino Rota represent a unique partnership in the history of motion pictures. Their long collaboration, which continued until the composer's death, certainly constituted an original and innovative chapter in the use of music for the screen. The most immediately apparent aspect of this collaboration was how, in all his films, Fellini treated the music as an important protagonist on stage. This record includes three examples of how the music fully discharges this important function. The first is the famous march (spirited but melancholic was how Fellini described it) which closes the film 8 1/2 (1962). Though Fuĉik's March of the Gladiators was used on the film set and was orginally slated for the final soundtrack, it was replaced by Rota's La passerella di addio ("Walking the Gang-plank."), often mistaken for a satyrical remake of a circus march. Restored here in its complete form, Rota's piece reveals all its dramatic and unsettling charge, dense with underlying harmonic tension and broad poetic sweeps.

La Dolce vita (1959) is prohably Fellini's most famous film. In its multifaceted soundtrack, which also includes many stock pieces, the dramatic turning point is once again reached when Rota's music breaks onto the screen: a clown playing a melancholic melody on his trumpet marks the scene (a nightclub where La dolce vita is being lived to the full) in which the cinematic story shifts to high drama.

Prova d'orchestra (Orchestra Rehearsal, 1978) is the final collaboration between the two artists. Not only does the music play its part on stage from beginning to end, but it becomes the primary player through its most complex instrument: the orchestra. Let us allow Federico Fellini's own words to describe how this unfolds: "For a long time I had in mind to tell the story of an orchestra rehearsal, because whenever I attended one [...] I always had these mixed feelings of emotion, disbelief, skepticism and joyful amazement. In other words, to witness how disorder, confusion, such diverse moods [...] indifference and the argumentative spirit of such disparate individuals can be merged into a single, harmonious yet abstract design as is music [...], to be present at the little miracle of precision that punctually renews itself and enables this little community to reach out towards a common purpose, all together yet individually [...] always fills me with a sense of touching surprise, like the vague perception that this situation harbors, emblematically, the ideal archetype of a society that can live and express itself in harmony."

Another great Italian director with whom Rota collaborated for a long time was Luchino Visconti. Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and his Brothers, 1960) is a strongly colored drama set in the post-war Italy of impoverished migrant workers. The soundtrack is of a traditional imprint in which broad symphonic sweeps contrast with more evocative moments of realism which, while discreetly remaining in the background, recall a theme or characteristic of this or that protagonist in the story. Because of certain aspects of the dramatic setting (the lands in Southern Italy left behind in the search for fortune), this soundtrack can be considered the musical progenitor of the score composed for The Godfather. In fact, in his own notes, Rota himself explicitly refers to an orchestration of Rocco and his Brothers, which he drew upon for a passage in the Coppola film.

In a completely different vein is the genesis of the soundtrack of Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1961). Following the long sequence of the Ball with the music holding center stage and consisting of six original dances by Rota and an unpublished orchestration by Verdi (Sony SK 66279), Visconti wanted for his most ambitious and complex film a romantic symphony to adapt, cut and rework according to the demands of the film's plot. With Rota's help he began a long and fruitless search in the classical and romantic repertoire which only ended when the composer tinkered for him on the piano a movement from a symphony he had written in his youth. Abandoned in a drawer and never orchestrated, that fragment of music so long forgotten became the "symphony" for The Leopard. It is presented here for the first time in its entirety, uncut and free from the time constraints imposed by the synchronization with the images.

Francesco Lombardi

Translation: M. Cecile Stratta

Date 1997