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

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Nino Rota embraced neo-Classical, neo-Romantic and even neo-Baroque affiliations. His music prized melodic directness and communicative generosity and it is not therefore surprising that he...

Nino Rota embraced neo-Classical, neo-Romantic and even neo-Baroque affiliations. His music prized melodic directness and communicative generosity and it is not therefore surprising that he should be best known for his epochal film scores – the music for The Godfather pre-eminently. Nino Rota’s 15 Preludes utilise melodic and harmonic explorations to chart music that is agitated and melancholic, but also joyous and comedic. The Fantasia in G comprises seven themes – folkloric, droll and ultimately heroic. A late work, the 7 Pezzi difficili per bambini is generous in its emotional directness. Eleanor Hodgkinson is a sought-after pianist and chamber musician. She partners a wide range of soloists and has performed at major venues including the South Bank Centre, Barbican Centre, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and St. John’s Smith Square. Recitals have taken her to North America, Denmark, Holland, Germany and France as well as extensive travel aboard cruise liners. She is one half of the piano duo, Duo Volante, and is the pianist with the Nimbus Ensemble and Harborough Collective. Eleanor also works with the Orchestra of the Swan and Mid-Wales Opera. As a founder member of the Elgin Piano Trio, she played throughout the UK to critical acclaim from 1999 to 2009. Her versatility has led to numerous collaborations, including a commission The Archduke Variations, with dancers of the Royal Ballet and premieres of British music in the Vigani’s Cabinet project at Queens’ College, Cambridge 2005–2007.

 

REVIEW:

 

Nino Rota wrote in many musical forms including film scores, concert music, and for solo instruments. Most listeners are familiar with his film scores for Federico Fellini and Franco Zefferelli. Rota wrote for a wide variety of musical requirements, but his style remained primarily neo-classical and neo-romantic. This worthwhile release explores some of the lesser known Rota repertory.

 

The 15 Preludes are from 1964—a very productive period for Rota, including several film scores and concert pieces that reflect a neo-classical sound, similar to Prokofieff. Some of the Preludes’ melancholic nature is like some of his film scores with a wistfulness and introspectiveness (marked Andante) that are low-key. But most of the Preludes are marked Allegro or Allegretto. Each is about two minutes so must make its point quickly with little development.

 

The Fantasia in G (1944-1945) in comparison is absolutely beautiful. At 16 minutes the seven main themes are fully developed and intermixed, and there is a restrained tension that overlies the neo-romantic sound. There are several lovely sequences, some with a folk-like character. Rota uses a sufficient variety of modes, rhythms, metric patterns, and musical progressions to maintain interest. You’ll want to repeat this almost immediately.

 

The Seven Difficult Pieces for Children are deceptively simple in texture and direct in their melodies and emotional communication with the listener. They sound somewhat similar to Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos. They are all very enjoyable and display a lighter side to Rota’s music.

Ms. Hodgkinson plays all beautifully, with a solid warm tone that draws the listener into the music. The sound is exceptional. I enjoyed this.

 

– American Record Guide



Product Description:


  • Release Date: January 10, 2020


  • UPC: 747313982721


  • Catalog Number: GP827


  • Label: Grand Piano


  • Number of Discs: 1