The Italian composer Giovanni “Nino” Rota (1911 – 1979) is best known for his film scores, particularly those for Italian directors Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli. But it is his association with the Italian-American director, Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather trilogy that he is perhaps best known.
Rota’s superb score for the monumental gangster saga lends the films an unmistakeable Italian feeling and sets the scene perfectly for the films’ themes of corruption, love and betrayal.
The Godfather is acknowledged as one of the greatest movies of all time – and its score is equally revered. Indeed, the American Film Institute ranked Rota’s score at no.5 in their list of greatest film scores. Interestingly, Rota’s nomination in the 1973 Oscars was withdrawn when it was discovered that he had used an upbeat version of Speak, Softly, Love (known also as The Godfather Love Theme) in an earlier film. However, a year later – and despite containing the same piece – The Godfather Part II won Rota the 1974 Academy Award for Best Score.
In this arrangement for wind quintet the music starts with the haunting, mournful Godfather Waltz before segueing into The Godfather Love Theme.
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