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Film Music Composers I: Nino Rota
by Sandra Pianin

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The musical score of a movie can determine the viewer's mood during the entire film. There is not one composer who I can determine as being the leading composer of movie music. For that reason, I have chosen to do a series on the composers of music for films.

Born into a msuical family, composer Nino Rota, was a child prodigy. He started composing music at age 8. He studied at the Milan St. Cecilia Conservatory in Italy. Rota went onto compose music for the stage, ballet, opera, and films.

Rota is best known for his film music and his extended partnership with Italian film director. Frederico Fellini. Rota scored some of Fellini's best known films: LA STRADA, LA DOLCE VITA, and CASANOVA. Rota also worked on films like THE LEOPARD, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and ROMEO AND JULIET. ROMEO AND JULIET features Rota's famous love theme which is familiar all over the world.

Critics have said that Rota's style was known for a certain good humored energy verging on satire. He is compared with Henry Mancini because he sometimes used a jazz idiom. Rota's slightly detached sense is evident in most of his Italian and French films. But, he used a full musical spectrum when composing for Hollywood films.

Frederico Fellini chose to spotlight circuses in his films LA STRADA, THE CLOWNS, and JULIET OF THE SPIRITS. This allowed Rota to compose different examples of circus-like themes. This may have been the inspiration for Danny Elfman's early style and his BIG TOP PEE WEE in particular according to mfiles.co.uk.

Nino Rota's Italian heritage was the major reason Francis Ford Coppola chose him to score THE GODFATHER film series. Rota needed to tone his sense of humor down but still managed to add some humor to the dark tragedy of THE GODFATHER series. Nino Rota won the Oscar for THE GODFATHER, PART II.

Nino Rota was the Director of the Bari Musical Conservatory in Italy, a title held until his death in 1979.

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Hollywood Works
Every other Wednesday

A column about all levels of working people (past and present) who make Hollywood the film capital of the world!


Other Columns
Other columns by Sandra Pianin:

George "Gabby" Hayes

Film Music Composers IV: Rachel Portman

Film Music Composers III: Lalo Schifrin

Film Music Composers II: Ennio Morricone

Matilda deCagny, Animal Trainer

All Columns


Sandra Pianin
Sandra has had a love affair with film since seeing her first movie screen in the summer of 1957. She is a talented writer and you can read her articles at American Chronicle, Healing Headquarters, and Syndicated News.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Sandra Pianin by clicking here.


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