Together with the Filarmonica della Scala, Riccardo Chailly explores the iconic film scores of Nino Rota in a new collection, The Fellini Album, on Decca Classics. Released on 7 June 2019 to mark 40 years since Rota’s death in April 1979, the album contains music from classic Federico Fellini films that capture the spirit of Italian cinema in the 1950s and 60s. The Fellini Album includes brand new recordings of music from La Dolce Vita, Amarcord, 8 ½, The Clowns and Il Casanova.
For Rota – undoubtedly the leading composer of Italian film music during the 1950s and 60s – Fellini’s cinematic world allowed him to explore his full creative potential, despite the director’s lack of understanding of music as a creative medium, by his own admission. Rota went on to write the soundtracks for all of Fellini’s films from Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheikh) to Prova d’orchestra (Orchestra rehearsal). The two men had a working relationship that was, in Fellini’s words, “a convergence of two temperaments, two natures, two creatures who, within their own limits, had no option but to cohabit the film-making process”.
Rota’s compositional style was widely derided by his contemporaries, who considered it devoid of any innate beauty on account of being too closely tied to film music. The composer did not believe in drawing distinctions between different genres, and was more concerned with creating music that entered into a dialogue with the images onscreen rather than being overpowered by them with too much texture and pomp.
A young Chailly with Nino Rota (centre), August 1974
Riccardo Chailly first met Rota in 1974 in Lanciano, Italy, when the composer was preparing the young participants in the town’s International Summer Orchestra Course for a performance of Rota’sPiano Concerto in C. Chailly, then only 21, was struck by Rota’s easy-going nature, and recalls an incredibly cultured man with an enormous musical knowledge.
Born in 1953 in Milan, Riccardo Chailly started his career as an opera conductor and gradually extended his repertoire to encompass symphonic music. With a recording catalogue of over 150 releases, Chailly has the longest exclusive recording contract of any living conductor, working with Decca for over 40 years to date.
Works included on the release enable listeners to appreciate Rota’s “chameleon-like” compositional style in full, and hear Chailly, along with the Filarmonica della Scala, expertly explore every subtle detail of Rota’s instrumentation, melodies and rhythms.
The Fellini Album is available to pre-order from 3 May and will be released on Decca Classics on 7 June.