Anglophone listeners may associate film composer Nino Rota primarily with the first two Godfather films, but film buffs (and Italians) know that his longest and most fruitful association was the one he had with director Federico Fellini. It began in 1952 with The White Sheik and continued for more than 25 years, through Orchestra Rehearsal, made shortly before Rota's death. Rarely if ever has there been a more ideal partnership between composer and director. Fellini's keen sense of the grotesque, and his way of depicting the great Roman carnival as it passes by individual lives, found their counterparts in Rota's language, which was capable of absorbing the most diverse elements, many of them from popular music, without losing its coherence. Sample "Carlotta's Galop" from the film 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo), where Rota comes a bit close to ripping off the "Sabre Dance" from Aram Khachaturian's Gayane. That suite and the one for Amarcord, probably Rota's most famous Fellini score, are presented in their original orchestration. However, the fabulous La Dolce Vita score, expertly balancing the sardonic hedonism of the film's story with Rota's popular dance styles, is put in concert form by an arranger, as is the music from Fellini's Casanova. One misses the 1950s films in which the collaboration excitingly took shape; perhaps La Strada or I Vitelloni or The Nights of Cabiria could have been substituted for Casanova or The Clowns, which presents Rota's contribution in a rather obvious form. This is a minor complaint. Conductor Riccardo Chailly, who knew Rota well, delivers rich, evocative performances of these scores at the podium of the Filarmonica della Scala. Recommended, and not just to film score buffs.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Amarcord, Suite from the film|
|Otto e Mezzo, 8 1/2, Huit et demi, Achteinhalb, Suite from the film|
|La Dolce Vita, Suite for orchestra|
|Il Casanova di Federico Fellini, Symphonic Suite|
|I Clowns, Suite from the film|