The Fellini Album

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The Film Music of Nino Rota
Filarmonica Della Scala Riccardo Chailly
Decca 483 2869 (80:50)

As a young man my first encounter with the music of Nino Rota (1911-79) was a track on a Mantovani album with pianists Rawicz and Landauer: The Legend of the Glass Mountain from the film ‘The Glass Mountain.’ This remains one of his best works.

Although he had been established for more than 20 years as Italy’s leading film composer, he did not become internationally famous until he won an Academy award for scoring ‘The Godfather, Part Two’ in 1974. He was a prolific composer of all kinds of music but was principally associated with the films of Frederico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. Rota’s movie music, though based on Italian folksong and romantic opera, was such that it quite often surpassed the scenes for which it was created.

This disc is devoted entirely to the scores of five Fellini films of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s – ‘La Dolce Vita’ probably being the best known and certainly the most notorious – played by the acclaimed Filarmonica Della Scala from Milan, who obviously have a great love for the composer’s music, under one of the world’s finest classical conductors, Riccardo Chailly.

In an extremely entertaining album the I Clowns Suite is especially fun, and I am fascinated by Rota’s occasional use of what sounds like other composers tunes quoted in his own compositions.

Described by Fellini as his “magical friend”, Rota had an abundant gift for melody and any light music enthusiast should not hesitate to find a place for this well-filled release in their collection.

© 2019 Peter Burt

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