Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Chamber Music: Sonata for flute and harp (1937), Trio for clarinet, cello and piano (1973), String Quartet (1948), Quintet for flute, oboe, viola, cello and harp, (1935), Trio for flute, violin and piano (1958), Piccola Offerta Musicale for wind quintet (1943)
Ex Novo Ensemble
  ASV CD DCA 1072 [72.39]

Rota's film music is well enough known but in recent years his concert music has been climbing from obscurity. The symphonies are on BIS and there are no less than two CDs of his pair of piano concertos: one on Sony, the other on Chandos.

The chamber music is pretty much as expected.

The flute and harp sonata (1937) has a cool succulence: part antique Ravel; part sunny Mediterranean evening.

The 1973 trio has Weill-like clipped accents and, in this performance, the andante seems too speedy.

The 1948 String Quartet features Hungarian melodics alongside a chaste adagio which fails to plumb great emotional depths and a finale recalling the Moeran Serenade for orchestra with a touch of neo-classical Holst.

The Quintet (1935) is scored for flute, oboe, viola, cello and harp. Untiringly tuneful, spinning and turning. A gentle inspiration in touch with Greek antiquity. This is bound to be loved by admirers of the Ravel Septet and the Bax Nonet.

The Trio for flute, violin and piano is tense at times sounding as if Shostakovich had written his own Flight of the Bumble Bee. The middle movement seems to limn one of the Bach Partitas.

The Piccola Offerta Musicale suggests an argument between Poulenc the troubadour and the knockabout Shostakovich. At 3.43 it certainly is 'piccola'.

This music gives off a health-giving glow. I urge you to try it.

Rob Barnett

see also review by Gary Dalkin

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