Rota: Nonet; Quintet; Trio for violin, flute & piano; Sonata for flute & harp

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LABELS: Koch Schwann Musica Mundi
WORKS: Nonet; Quintet; Trio for violin, flute & piano; Sonata for flute & harp
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6767-2
Nino Rota must rank as one of the 20th century’s best – and least-known composers. As the prolific film composer with credits including The Godfather and many of Federico Fellini’s most admired films, Rota’s music has been heard by millions. As the precocious composer who completed his first opera before the age of 16, he hardly raises a glimmer of recognition among musicians and audiences alike.


Is this simply a case of snobbishness from the ‘serious’ music world? Possibly, but the works on this disc do little to suggest that Rota has suffered a profound injustice. It is not that Rota fundamentally lacked ability. A work such as the Nonet could not have been written by someone who had not mastered their craft. Nor is it that he was far from progressive. It is not even the fact that he was a dedicated and unashamed musical magpie, for this would count against, among many others, Stravinsky. However, no matter what borrowings it contains, Stravinsky’s music is instantly recognisable as his alone. Rota’s music lacks that distinctive voice. These are pleasant works performed extremely well, but they fade from the memory almost as soon as they have been heard. Christopher Dingle