The last meeting of the Society was a presentation by Robin Lim of the music of Nino Rota. He was born in 1911 in Milan and showed early musical talent with an oratorio composed when he was 12. He followed this up with a cello concerto aged 14 and a musical career clearly beckoned. After early training in Italy he came to the notice of Arturo Toscanini in America who arranged for him to further his training in Philadelphia. Whether it was the influence of his dominant mother or for other reasons, he did not finish his training there but returned instead to Milan.
Robin played examples of his compositions which included: a Clarinet Sonata; the overture; Il Cappellodi Paglia di Firenze; Concerto Soiree and excerpts from Il Gattopardo. All the music had strong rhythm and some good melodic interest but perhaps a problem was a lack of a clear ‘voice’ of the composer. One kept hearing echoes of other composers such as Neilsen, Dvorak and even Bruckner. Indeed he was criticised by critics for this but of course ‘borrowing’ themes from other composers is not unknown even by the greats.
It was to film music where he found a degree of fame and success. An early composition was the score for the Glass Mountain and we saw and heard an excerpt from the film. Others included Juliet of the Spirits; 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita. Altogether, he wrote some 150 film scores. But the one which will bring him immortality and the music just about everyone can whistle or hum the main theme to, is the score to the Godfather series. It was the highest grossing film of all time. Amazingly, he did not get an Oscar for the score but after an outcry, he did get it for Godfather II but did not attend the ceremony to receive it.
It was an interesting evening and showed again the difficulty of making the leap from prodigy to an established artist. There are so many who show early precocity but developing that to become an original composer (or artist or author) can be the hardest thing.
The last meeting of Salisbury Recorded Music Society, took place on Monday 30th March at 7.30pm, in our usual venue, when Robin Lim presented:Nino Rota – the Chameleon composer. Fuller report soon.
In preparation for the Members Evening on 18th May, Ron Seaman will be asking members for details of a piece you wish to bring and have played at the Members Evening.
Looking ahead, can I take this opportunity to remind you that in order to avoid Easter and Bank Holidays the dates for last three sessions of this season are more spread out.
They are on: 20th April, 18th May and 1st June.
Note programme change:
We have a change to the programme on 1st June. This will now be given by Ian Lace who will present A Critics Choice 2014, as unfortunately Barry Conaway will be unable to come.
Looking further ahead to next year we are now putting together the programme for 2015-16 and invite offers to present an evening, or part of an evening. Please contact me or a committee member with any offers or suggestions.
The last meeting of the Recorded Music Society, which took place on 16 March, was a further break from tradition as there was – and there is no other way to put this – no recorded music. Instead we had local keyboard player David Davies (photo) play organ pieces and he called his talk Brought down from the attic: rarely heard organ works played live on the piano.
David played a wide range of pieces from composers stretching back to Tallis in the sixteenth century and a piece from the Robertsbridge Codex which is from the fourteenth. He explained something of the history of the organ noting that the pedal was a late arrival to these shores, in fact not until something like 1840 did any appear. All organs were destroyed by Cromwell is another interesting fact.
Among the pieces was one of Mozart’s ‘epistle sonatas’ which may have contributed to his dismissal from Salzburg because, famously, it was too long. Other pieces included Walton’s music for Richard III and an Air by Samuel Wesley who was the first to spot how important the music of Bach was. A really interesting programme – and we didn’t miss the CDs.
The list of music played:
Organ Estampie in the Robertsbridge Codex: the earliest surviving music written specifically for the keyboard
Hymn: Iste confessor
Toccata in the Aeolian mode
Prelude in G
Elegy from music for Richard III
Gagliarda Terza from the second book of toccatas
Voluntary 3 from Melothesia
Fugue in D major
Fughettas on Vom Himmel Hoch und Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ