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Rota: La Strada, Il Gattopardo, Concerto Soirée / Pons, Granada City Orchestra


Release Date: 07/12/2005 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901864   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Nino Rota
Performer:  Benedetto Lupo
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


It's great to see the music of Nino Rota getting so much attention. He was a wonderful composer, and the ballet suite from La strada may be his orchestral masterpiece (just a quick note: the French language title identifies this as a suite from the eponymous film; it is in fact the more familiar arrangement of the later ballet). There are now four competitive recordings of this piece, the least interesting of which is on Chandos with the Teatro Massimo orchestra: not bad, but not as well played or recorded as either Muti's slightly stiff version with the excellent La Scala forces, or Atma's brilliant recent release featuring the Greater Montréal Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Yannick
Read more Nézet-Séguin. All of the couplings differ in various ways, though Muti also has the dances from Il gattopardo (The Leopard).


Happily, comparison of this newcomer with the reference recording of La Strada on Atma reveals an entirely different set of excellences. The previous release is a big, beefy, symphonic interpretation. This one, using the smallish Granada ensemble, reeks of the ballet, of Offenbach, of the sort of giddy lightness that always characterizes Rota at his irreverent best. You hear this right from the opening, with Pons emphasizing the music's buoyant rhythms, never letting the brass blast, and above all keeping the faux-Romantic moments flowing and unsticky. Nevertheless, he delivers a smoking account of the famous Rumba, and attacks the Stravinskian parodies in The Rage of Zampanò with gusto. Pons' fleet tempos and keen ear for orchestral detail make the music sparkle, a joy from first note to last.


The Concerto Soirée, a five-movement dance suite for piano and orchestra that opens with a Walzer-Fantasia and concludes with an effervescent Can-can, also appears on Naïve in a merely adequate performance from Ferrara simply annihilated by Benedetto Lupo and Pons in every possible way. The ballet music from Il gattopardo is, like La strada, also quite popular on disc, not least for Rota's opening orchestration of a Verdi waltz, and Pons offers as fine a performance as you will ever hope to hear. This is light music (check out the Galop and concluding Valzer del Commiato) by a master-craftsman, played to the hilt and recorded with stunning realism and fidelity. The comprehensive booklet, full of information about Rota, his film career, and the music featured on the disc (including some fabulous old movie posters and stills from La strada and Il gattopardo), is almost worth the asking price all by itself. It doesn't get any better than this. [4/26/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto Soirée for Piano by Nino Rota
Performer:  Benedetto Lupo (Piano)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Italy 
2. La Strada: Suite by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; Italy 
3. Il gattopardo: Valzer Brillante by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
4. Il gattopardo: Mazurka by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
5. Il gattopardo: Balletto by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
6. Il gattopardo: Polka by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
7. Il gattopardo: Quadriglia by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
8. Il gattopardo: Galop by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
9. Il gattopardo: Valzer del commiato by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 
10. Il gattopardo: Dances by Nino Rota
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Italy 

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