Following the advice of Arturo Toscanini, Nino Rota studied composition and conducting at the Cutis Institute in Philadelphia between 1931 and 1932. It was during this time that he discovered the Hollywood film machine and the music of Gershwin. On his return to Italy he started to concentrate mainly on film music for which he is justly famous.
However, Rota also continued to compose works for concert halls and opera houses with a good degree of success. Unfortunately, the latter output is still poorly served as recordings go, so this disc together the one issued last summer of two of Rota's symphonic works (also by Arts) is timely indeed and does the composer a great service.
This issue focuses on his 3 works for viola and piano and the same number for violin and piano. Although these pieces are small in length, they are certainly not short on charm, wit and melody. Permeated by a strong Italian zest, all 6 works are huge entertainment from beginning to end. Performances are delightfully fresh and invigorating and should strike a happy chord in listeners and critics alike. A fascinating release recorded in sumptuous sound quality.
Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech