The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (206): Nino, before Fellini

What a marvellous composer Nino Rota was, as early as 1936 when he was just 25.

 

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  • For about 30 years he was the dean of the Bari Conservatory; he found a provincial school and left a big school with a lot of good teachers. He sometimes disappeared when he had to write a film score, but most of the time he literally lived in the school, sleeping in a small room in the guard apartment. Actually, some film scores were written in a small building that doubled as gym. I remind him at my admission examination and giving my father advice to enlist me in the composition class. He was an incredible person, taking care of everybody from little children to top classes.

    • One of my students once brought me a DVD about Rota and his life, which included a wonderful interview with Riccardo Muti. Muti described how Rota had helped him when he was a student there: piano lessons and encouragement for conducting..he also mentioned that Rota was always at the school and acted as a mentor to students. One of the revelations was Rota’s modesty and shyness: he was filmed at the piano but there was a large lampshade next to him, obscuring his face. There were also photos and articles about Rota as a young virtuoso, who left the performing scene rather early in his teens, and turned to composing, luckily for Fellini!

  • He also composed a work for flute, harp, and string trio, then a concerto for harp, and the famous solo, Sarabande e Toccata.

  • The Scala presented La Strada as a ballet in 1967 (with Carla Fracci) It was part of a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana . Karajan conducted the latter, but not the former!

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