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Rota unveils the Seventies divergent soul

IL VENERDI' DI REPUBBLICA October 14th 2011

Claudio Strinati

At the end of 1973, Italy comes to know the sudden petroleum crisis effects(due to the fact that OPEC decided to close its valves). A period of Sundays on foot and austerity begins. The fall will become irreversible and already in 1972 it was outlined and pushed the general situation, delineating the following forty years disasters.
In 1972 editor Giangiacomo Feltrinelli and police commissioner Luigi Calabresi, both of them involved in important political situations, died. In 1974 the Italian parliament approved Referendum pro-divorce, in 1975 Pasolini was murdered. In 1978, the same fate occurred to Christian Democrat politician Aldo Moro. It is exactly in those years that Nino Rota composes his two Concertos for Cello and Orchestra, deservedly recovered by Silvia Chiesa among other unpublished works the famous Milanese composer, whose centenary from his birth is being now celebrating, left us.
Simoultaneously with these two Concerts, written between 1972 and 1973, Rota composes Fellini’s
Amarcord (1974) soundtrack. In the great director’s masterwork, private and political aspects are added together in a bewildering and involuntarily way, creating an universal and, at the same time, specific emblem of that period. Fellini says: «I remember, but it is disappointment which immerses in the fog of what is clouded the legacy that everybody has inside and that assimilated the unconscious with the unknowable». Italians riding their bicycles on autumn Sundays still seemed to be Ladri di biciclette era children, as if political and economic disorders were anyway characterized by the wish to live in a better way and to discover again that we desire something because it is inside us and it is good.
Rota writes his pieces in that way, unaware and prophetic. A thread of anguishing tension pervades them, but the funambulist-composer doesn’t fall down in the emptiness; furthermore, he walks fiercely and at his perfect ease plumbing the depths of the fable – remote and widespread, but that urges inside like a painful grip, softened by memories coming from Rimsky-Korsakov or Prokofiev – potentialities. Rota’s music is strong in its structure and dreaming in its floating surface. Silvia Chiesa, conducted by Corrado Rovaris, is sensitive and involved.