November 1999 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

Nino ROTA The Taming of the Shrew   OST  DRG 32928 [58:30]

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Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were ideally cast as Katherine and Petruchio in Zefferelli’s inspired 1966 production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew; and Nino Rota was an equally inspired choice as composer.

RCA originally issued an LP of the soundtrack in 1967 but Rota’s music played second fiddle to the dialogue highlights (important and as deservedly popular as they were). Now DRG give us the chance to hear Rota’s glorious music uninterrupted by the battling between Katherine and Petruchio, except for a very few hummings of Richard Burton.

This new album has two additions: an Overture that sets out the major themes and an alternative version of the ‘Honeymoon’ cue. There are two major recurring themes: a romantic yet sad romantic theme for Katherine and lighter, heroic and swaggeringly virile theme for Petruchio. Variations on these two themes are developed according to character and plot development. Additionally, there are many cues like ‘The Wedding Banquet’ in which ‘16th Century’ dances are inserted with drums, recorders, guitars and tambourines etc. The woodwinds and brass are used prominently to draw more comic sketches. In ‘Petruchio Arrives Riding a Mule’ for instance, they are used in a comic, flamboyant yet at the same derisory mode and the music reminds one very much of the scores that Rota wrote for the Fellini films. There is much to enjoy in the score including the exuberant and joyful ‘Students’ Masquerade’, the soothing guitar ‘Sarabande’ solo and the wedding music with the Gloria sung by the Cappella Giulia’s Choir accompanied by the organ.

The sound is at times thin and wiry but overall acceptable.

An appealing romp of a score, recommended.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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