NINO ROTA: Symphonies No. 1 in G Major & No. 2 in F Major – Filarmonia ‘900 del Teatro Regio di Torino/ Marzio Conti – Chandos CHAN 10546, 62:10 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
NINO ROTA: Symphony No. 3; Divertimento Concertante; Concerto Soirée – Davie Botto, doublebass/Barry Douglas, piano/ Filarmonia ‘900 del Teatro Regio, Turin/Gianandrea Nosedt – Chandos CHAN 10669, 61:50 (Distr. by Naxos] ****:
Nino Rota, who lived until 1979, is of course tied in with his many iconic film scores for Federico Fellini. He wrote over 100 film scores during his lifetime, but also many “serious” works – never embracing either of the avant styles of the time but retaining an imaginative tonal neoclassicism in all his work, both for film and concert hall. He wrote four symphonies, and here are three of them.
The first two have a temperate modernism and directness of expression. The First, finished in 1939, suggests a marine environment, and even quotes some of Debussy’s La Mer. The second movement is almost a prophetic vision of the coming of WWII. The Second Symphony is for a somewhat smaller orchestra, and its subtitle refers to Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage.” It has a more romantic quality than the neoclassic First, and the second movement has a brief somewhat concealed quotation from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. While the third movement has an austere quality, the finale is one of the most optimistic Rota composed.
The Third Symphony, completed in 1957, is shorter than the other two and less serious. In a light neoclassic style, it has a lively Scherzo third movement, and in the final movement uses a rondo theme and a humorous exchange between two bassoons. The Divertimento was composed for an Italian virtuoso doublebassist, and the concerto may be thought of as a piano concerto written in the spirit of Rossini’s famous Soirées Musicales.
Sonics (originally recorded as 96/24 stereo files) are first rate and both CDs bring us another side of the famous film music composer that is just as tuneful and enjoyable – though more developed – as his award-winning film music.
— John Sunier
A “…first choice for a gift to any lover of classical music”…