Éric Le Sage, Emmanuel Pahud & Paul Meyer - Nino Rota: Chamber Music - BBC Music Magazine

Nino Rota (1911-79) spent several decades working on-and-off on his five-movement Nonetto and, as such, it offers a tribute to the Italian composer’s changing styles. It receives a glorious outing here at the hands of Eric Le Sage, Paul Meyer and Emmanuel Pahud’s collective (founded with the creation of the International Chamber Music Festival of Salon-de-Provence in 1993). The fanfare motif of the first movement is passed around the players, a neo-classical technique mirrored throughout the piece and further developed in the Allegro con spirito and variations. The ensemble playing is of the highest calibre, particularly in the spiky Vivacissimo.

Although he is better known for his film music (The Godfather, Romeo and Juliet etc) and larger-scale works, Rota’s piano pieces are receiving renewed attention (Eleanor Hodgkinson has just begun releasing his complete solo piano works on Grand Piano). Both Preludes Nos 2 and 13, which Le Sage plays with soul and restraint, have the air of 19th-century salon music.

The Trio for clarinet, cello and piano is more pensive than the earlier Trio for flute, violin and piano – and is the most thematically interesting work here, with better synthesis of melodic material.

BBC Music Magazine
01 October 2021