Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Intertextual Relationships in Nino Rota's Concerto per Trombone E Orchestra, the Godfather, and Fortunella
by Martinez, Bradley William, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 25; 10784437
Abstract (Summary)

Nino Rota was most well known as a composer of film music, notably The Godfather Parts I & II. He also composed music for several other films including the Italian comedy Fortunella. This score has been credited as the reason the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences declined to nominate Rota for Best Original Music for The Godfather due to similarities between the two soundtracks. Because of this, scholars such as Franco Sciannameo and Marcia Citron have compared the two films. In this paper, I will introduce a piece of Rota’s concert music into this discussion, his Concerto per Trombone e Orchestra . This concerto connects the films chronologically: it was composed in 1966, eight years after Fortunella and six years before The Godfather . I will examine several themes of these three pieces using the literary element of intertextuality to show how they relate to one another.

Rota was known to borrow themes between his concert music and film music and vice versa, as he saw little difference between the two. Some themes have appeared in multiple pieces and scores spanning decades, not just in the three pieces discussed in this paper. These themes appear with different amounts of variation throughout Fortunella, the Concerto per Trombone, and The Godfather. At some points, they may be note-for-note, and at other points include some variations. Some of the similar themes between these three pieces include two themes in Fortunella, the “Love Theme,” “The Godfather Waltz,” and “The Pickup” from The Godfather, and three figures from Movements I and II from the Concerto per Trombone. Additionally, many of the film score themes serve a purpose similar to a Wagnerian leitmotif, but that purpose does not necessarily remain the same across films. Despite some common themes, these pieces of music utilize contrasting styles. Some of this difference may also be due to the relationship and differences in personal backgrounds between Rota and his closest collaborator, Federico Fellini, whom he worked with on Fortunella, and Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather. This stylistic contrast becomes especially apparent when comparing the music Rota composed for films versus the concert hall, such as the Concerto per Trombone. This comparison and relationship between these three pieces can be viewed as an intertextual relationship, as would exist between pieces of literature quoting or referencing one another. These relationships add an extra layer of complexity to the text when understood by the reader, listener, or, in this case, performer. Understanding the intertextual relationships between Rota’s Concerto per Trombone and his scores for The Godfather and Fortunella, will add depth to a trombonist’s performance of this concerto.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Frear, Robert
Commitee: Lindau, Elizabeth, Torres-Santos, Raymond
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Concerto, Godfather, Intertextuality, Rota, Nino, Trombone
Publication Number: 10784437
ISBN: 978-0-438-05166-9
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