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Eleanor Hodgkinson: Nino Rota, Complete Solo Piano Works, Vol. 1

review nino rota x1 cong

You all know the music of Nino Rota — he wrote scores for films such as The Godfather; the famous main theme from that, Speak Softly, Love is his. He also wrote the music for 150 other films. His day job was director of the Conservatorio di Musica Niccolò Piccinni in Bari and he also composed operas, ballets, symphonies, concertos, choral works and chamber music.

The music of a film has to reflect and give depth to the scenes portrayed, so by nature is atmospheric and dramatic. Perhaps as a consequence, this is not either of those things but a pleasant low-key collection of gently romantic piano pieces that are not intrusive or dramatic, although it’s all individual enough to be never predictable. It’s melodic and at times you can hear it flowing like the Godfather music, even if the sound is not the same.

According to Wikipedia he said: “I’d do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That’s what’s at the heart of my music”; this might not have you skipping in the aisles but it’s certainly a minor pleasure.

It’s also got a no-nonsense feel to it — Rota writes down the notes that are needed and no more, and Hodgkinson’s playing reinforces this, playing crisply and tightly.

This is out on Grand Piano, GP827.

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