- 3 September, 2009
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I have long been a fan of Italian film music of the 60’s and 70’s. Rota was truely one of the most important and influential composers of his generation, the generation that would influence such greats as Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai and many others. Rota of course (like many other film composers) had a “Classical Music” side to his work. I had a chance to chat with conductor Enrico Bronzi about his disc of Rota Concertos on the Concerto label.
Enrico, can you tell us a little bit about the Rota project? What inspired you to make this recording? Why these particular compositions?
For a while now I have been looking for an opportunity to study the Concerto n. 2 for cello. So when the Musici di Parma asked me to join them in a project regarding Rota, naturally my reaction was to join them immediately. This recording brings together all aspects of my life as a musician: chamber music, work as a soloist and conducting.
Can you describe for us where Nino Rota fits in the Italian Music Landscape (historically speaking)?
Rota’s music is like breathing Italian air. His vocation for melody originates in the lyric traditions of my hometown. Often his music is tinged with a typically Mediterranean mood. It can be playful: in it he frequently alludes to particular sounds, such as a band from southern Italy or the circus. However, he does know where the limits lie and it is done with a gentlemanliness, which keeps everything from becoming mere imitation. And this sense of ‘moderation in all things’ is part of the education of that refined aristocrat from the south, which is a part of the foundations of our culture.
What do you see as being Rota’s most important compositions outside of the film works? What makes these pieces important?
Rota’s concert music is contiguous with his music for film. It is sophisticated music that has absorbed all of the lessons of European music. And yet it is not music that feigns solemnity or zeal. When Morricone writes ‘serious’ music, he does it disowning the poetry of his film music. Rota, on the other hand, just enlarges and reinforces the poetic structure of his pieces. We never get the impression that the joy exuding from his enormous melodic streak is running out.
What would you like this recording you’ve made to achieve both in Italy and abroad?
I hope this recording will be considered a step toward rediscovering this great composer’s recorded music. Many have begun to re-evaluate all angles of his music and I believe the public will not have to work at all to appreciate him. I am thinking of some rather silly and useless criticisms leveled at Poulenc. In the end the coherence of these authors is worth more than an aesthetic credo or the poorly placed problems regarding the avant-garde. Let it be understood I am a big fan of a wide variety of very different composers, such as Zimmermann, Ligeti, Kurtag. Our age is a Tower of Babel of different and diverse languages. But if we know how to listen we will be able to understand the beauty that can be found in opposites.
While some people in America are familiar with Rota’s film music, by and large his “Classical Compositions” still remain somewhat obscure (when speaking in terms of the “Classical mainstream”), why do you think this is?
For many years, in Europe, there was, basically, a kind of censorship regarding this composer who was so far removed from any of the beacons of the avant-garde in the last century. Given that 20th century American music is not so very different from Rota’s aesthetic cannons, I think that, in the United States, he could be warmly welcomed. For people who enjoy Copland or Bernstein, admiring Rota’s spontaneous and luminous music should come naturally.
- 19 June, 2009
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Composer Nino Rota is best known for his more than 150 film scores. His thirty-year artistic relationship with Federico Fellini led him to be one of the most identified film composers of the twentieth century. Rota also worked with filmmakers … Read More →