Well, we should probably just make a whole Nino Rota page, but we didn’t … so there. In case you didn’t know, this is the guy who scored the Fellini films La Strada, La Dolce Vita, The Clowns, Roma, 8 ½, Juliet of the Spirits, The Innocents, The White Skeik, Amarcord, etc. All of which are great scores, of course. And yeah, even if you’re one of those God-forsaken individuals who’ll sit there getting all annoyed & complain about our presenting such “obscure” titles … um, chill homey. Nino Rota is the guy who scored the Godfather I & II music that you adore so much, you fucking buffoon. Set down the Bud Light and go check the DVD case. And turn off that Sopranos rerun while you’re at it.
Unimaginable but true: some people need to be told to go rent a few Fellini films. These “obscure” titles are available at your local Blockbuster… so be sure and stop by Domino’s and pick up some Italian food on the way, you pig-fucking caveman. No, we know, we know — most of you are quite exempt from this outburst. Oh, and then there are the ones who feel so refined — yes, savvy enough to download the movies illegally & watch them on QuickTime. Domino’s delivers, isn’t that right you smug little art-sucking vampire?
Jeesh … sorry about that. Years and years of “casting pearls before swine” will do things to you, things you wouldn’t want to know about. My Uzi understands… don’t you, baby?
Anyway, back to master Rota — what’s amazing is that late in his career after all the Godfather business he wrote what we think is his finest work just before retiring: Fellini’s Casanova (1976). One of Fellini’s more overlooked films due to its conceptual “obscurity” (oh the damnation), the soundtrack fares worse and is almost totally overlooked. This is Rota at his most haunting, charming, occult and, I don’t know, Venetian? Just a perfect score in every way. Romantic, dark, sparse and then dense, pointallistic and then lush. Theme and variation at its finest. Electric pianos, Pipe Organs, glockenspiels, celestas … you know, our kind of album. And as a stand alone music experience the album’s a total winner from start to finish — it’s easy to get really lost in this one. Those whose well-developed imaginations are starving for some pan-dimensional mood music will find many a spine chilling moment here. Rota himself seemed rather pleased with it too, graduating gracefully from music after it was finished. Perfect.
We didn’t know this until recently but it turns out that Rota and Stravinsky had a “longstanding friendship.” Not much influence either way, obviously, but it’s nice to know that once upon a time there was unclouded respect for this kind of musician and composer — and thus hope for the art of film composition. That hope and respect will die with Morricone. Don’t kid yourself. You know it’s true.
-Trey Spruance, webofmimicry.com
Nino Rota-IL CASANOVA DI FEDERICO FELLINI (1976)