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A Sentimental Devil: Complete Works for Violin/Viola and Piano by Nino Rota / d'Orazio, Nuti

Rota / Dorazio / Nuti
Release Date: 07/09/2013 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33934   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Nino Rota
Performer:  Giampaolo NutiViola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ROTA Improvviso : in C (“A sentimental devil”); in d. Violin Sonata in G. Legend of the Glass Mountain . Intermezzo in b. Viola Sonatas: in C; in G Francesco d’Orazio (vn, va); Giampaolo Nuti (pn) STRADIVARIUS 33934 (62:23)


This disc claims to contain Rota’s complete works for violin or viola and piano, a statement I have no reason to dispute. In fact, the Read more contents of this disc are identical to those of another “complete” collection (Arts 47718-8) except for Legend of the Glass Mountain , a short work for violin and piano which was adapted from the film of the same name. In other words, the Stradivarius CD under review here is more complete, if you will, than the Arts SACD, which features violinist/violist Marco Fornaciari and pianist Gabriele Baldocci.


Most of these works are fairly early, ranging from the Viola Sonata in G (1934) to Legend of the Glass Mountain (1948). The exception is the violin Improvviso in C, which was composed in 1969. The meaning of the subtitle “A sentimental devil” is not certain, although the work is in what might be called Rota’s “circus” style, as it is reminiscent of his music from La Strada . (This is the style that Danny Elfman cleverly duplicated in his score for Pee Wee’s Big Adventure .) The rest of the music on this CD was composed in a style less familiar to those who know Rota’s music only through his work in film, although the other violin Improvviso , the one in D Minor, originated in the film Amanti senza amore (Lovers Without Love), itself an adaptation of Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata . It is a brief work in gypsy style.


The meat of this CD comes in the three sonatas. The Violin Sonata, composed in between the two viola sonatas, is very attractive, and more reminiscent of French music than Italian. The first movement is richly melodic, and at times it even sounds like Franck on a Mediterranean holiday. The second movement is dignified, but mounts in emotional intensity. The last movement opens with yet another Franck- or Fauré-like melody, although it becomes more playful. This sonata would be welcome on almost any recital. The Viola Sonata in G was written for William Primrose. This is a concise work—together, its three movements last less than 10 minutes—yet Rota packs plenty of melody into it. The flowing and somewhat folksy theme of the first movement might allude to Primrose’s Scottish background, although perhaps I am just imagining it! The succeeding Adagio also has a folk-like simplicity, although there is a bit of Impressionism as well. The closing Allegro returns to the atmosphere of the first movement, although there is more pensive contrasting material. The Viola Sonata in C (1945) was adapted from Rota’s Clarinet Sonata in D. As in the other sonatas, melody plays a starring role, but here, Rota’s voice is more distinctive. The first movement is thoughtful, verging on the melancholy, and the mood turns almost tearful in the central Andante sostenuto . The finale, like the first movement, is marked Allegro scorrevole (flowing), and also like the first movement, eschews brilliance in favor of a rather Brahmsian mellowness until it comes to a sudden close.


The chief difference between the Stradivarius CD and the Arts SACD is recording quality. D’Orazio and Nuti were recorded in a much less resonant space than Fornaciari and Baldocci, and thus there is a dryness to their sound that some might find unappealing. All of the performers have a good handle on the music, and interpretively, there really is little to distinguish the performances on the two discs from each other. Perhaps D’Orazio and Nuti are a little more imaginative than Fornaciari and Baldocci, but that might have more to do with how close they are to the microphones. I don’t think you would be unhappy with either recording. If you want SACD and warmer sound, then go for Fornaciari and Baldocci, but if you want the extra work, go for D’Orazio and Nuti.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1. Amanti senza Amore: Improvviso in D minor by Nino Rota
Performer:  Giampaolo Nuti (Piano), Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Violin), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 14 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3. Intermezzo for Viola and Piano by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Violin), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1945; Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 8 Minutes 8 Secs. 
4. Amanti senza Amore: Improvviso in D minor by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Violin), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5. Sonata for Viola and Piano no 1 by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Viola), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 15 Minutes 2 Secs. 
6. Glass Mountain: Legend of the Glass Mountain by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Violin), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
7. Sonata for Viola and Piano no 2 by Nino Rota
Performer:  Viola] Francesco D'Orazio [Violin (Viola), Giampaolo Nuti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Teatro Curci, Barletta 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 

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