Nino Rota and “Romeo and Juliet” theme


Giovanni Rinaldi “Nino” Rota (December 3, 1911 –April 10, 1979) was an Italian composer, pianist, conductor, and academic best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti, who also composed the music for two of Franco Zeffirelli’s Shakespeare films, and for the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II (1974).  Rota was born on December 3, 1911, into a musical family at Milan, Italy.  He was a renowned child prodigy—his first oratorio, L’infanzia di San Giovanni Battista, was written at age 11 and performed in Milan and Paris as early as 1923; his three-act lyrical comedy after Hans Christian Andersen, Il Principe Porcaro, was composed when he was just 13 and published in 1926. He studied at the Milan conservatory there under Giacomo Orefice and then undertook serious study of composition under Ildebrando Pizzetti and Alfredo Casella at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, graduating in 1930.

Encouraged by Arturo Toscanini, Rota moved to the United States where he lived from 1930 to 1932. He won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, where he was taught conducting by Fritz Reiner and had Rosario Scalero as an instructor in composition.   Returning to Milan, he wrote a thesis on the Renaissance composer Gioseffo Zarlino. Rota earned a degree in literature from the University of Milan, graduating in 1937, and began a teaching career that led to the directorship of the Liceo Musicale in Bari, a title he held from 1950 until 1978.  During the 1940s, Rota composed scores for more than 32 films, including Renato Castellani’s Zazà (1944). His association with Fellini began with Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik) (1952), followed by I vitelloni (1953) and La strada (The Road) (1954). They continued to work together for decades, from 1950 to 1979.  Rota’s score for Fellini’s 8½ (1963) is often cited as one of the factors which makes the film cohesive. His score for Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits (1965) included a collaboration with Eugene Walter on the song, “Go Milk the Moon” (cut from the final version of the film).

Rota wrote numerous concerti, the best known being his string concerto, and other orchestral works as well as piano, chamber, and choral music, five ballets, and ten operas.  Written for a radio production by RAI in 1950, his short opera, I due timidi (The Two Timid Ones), was presented by the Santa Fe Opera as part of their pre-season “One-Hour Opera” program in May/June 2008. His 1955 opera Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (The Florentine Straw Hat) is an adaptation of the play by Eugène Labiche and was presented by the Santa Fe Opera in 1977.  He also composed the music for many theatre productions by Visconti, Zeffirelli and Eduardo De Filippo.  Rota, who had one daughter, Nina Rota, died on April 10, 1979, from a coronary thrombosis (heart failure) in Rome, Italy, aged 67.  During his long career Rota was an extraordinarily prolific composer, especially of music for the cinema. He wrote more than 150 scores for Italian and international productions from the 1930s until his death in 1979—an average of three scores each year over a 46-year period, and in his most productive period from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s he wrote as many as ten scores every year, and sometimes more, with a remarkable thirteen film scores to his credit in 1954.

The following works by Nino Rota are contained in my collection:

The Godfather (1972): Love Theme (Speak Softly, Love).

Romeo and Juliet (1968): Love Theme (A Time for Us).


Should I Be Worried About My Child’s Language Development?

Should I Be Worried About My Child’s Language Development?
Cari Ebert, M.S., CCC-SLP
Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Summer 2009

Having children and watching them develop new skills is as rewarding as anything else we do as parents. We cherish our children’s achievement of milestones from their first tooth to their first step, but hearing a child speak his first word is like music to our ears!

What should we do if those first words don’t come or if our child’s speech is difficult to understand? Do we take the “wait and see” approach, or do we seek answers to our questions? Many of us turn to the Internet to try to find information about our concerns and answers to our questions. However, that can be an overwhelming experience for concerned parents. While the Internet may provide some answers, it often creates more confusion and more questions because of the over-abundance of information available.

I would like to speak directly to parents who are concerned about their child’s development of communication skills and provide you with some information regarding communication milestones, red flags, and strategies to enhance your child’s speech and language development.

Read more:

Philip Rosseter and “My Love Hath Vow’d”


Philip Rosseter (1567/1568 –May 5, 1623) was an English Renaissance-Baroque composer, court musician who championed the cause of the simple air and denigrated fancy counterpoint, and a theatrical manager.  Rosseter was born in 1567 or 1568, and his family seems to have been from Somerset or Lincolnshire.  He may have been employed with the Countess of Sussex by 1596, and he was living in London by 1598.  Rosseter is best known for A Book of Ayres which was written with Thomas Campion, contained twenty-one of his songs with lute and viol accompaniment, and was published in 1601. Some literary critics have held that Campion wrote the poems for Rosseter’s songs; however, this seems not to be the case. It is likely that Campion was the author of the book’s preface, which criticizes complex counterpoint and “intricate” harmonies that leave the words inaudible.  The other twenty-one songs in this volume are by Campion.  The two men had a close professional and personal relationship.   In 1604 Rosseter was appointed a court lutenist for James I of England, a position he held until his death in 1623.

Rosseter’s lute songs are generally short, homophonic, with minimal repetition or word painting (imitating textual meanings through music), while at the same time being rich in musical invention. Rosseter indulged in the fashionable melancholy familiar from the works of his contemporary John Dowland, but he also employed light, dancing rhythms. His music is determinedly simple, eschewing counterpoint and high expression. Compared to the works of Dowland, it is rather uneventful, but also well within the abilities of a wide swath of English singing society.  Rosseter’s only other book was Lessons for Consort (1609) for a broken consort of bandora, cittern, lute, flute, and treble and bass viol, which contains arrangements of his own and others’ music, but only fragments of this set have survived, mainly the flute parts.  A piece entitled Rosseter’s Galliard by Giles Farnaby is included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (no. CCLXXXIII), probably a setting of one of Rosseter’s compositions.

Rosseter was also involved in the Jacobean theatre. In 1609 he and Robert Keysar became shareholders in a company of boy actors, the Children of the Chapel. The company had lost their royal patronage in 1606 as a result of their satire of Jacobean court scandals, but Rosseter was permitted to restore their former title, the Children of the Queen’s Revels, in 1610.  Rosseter remained connected to the Jacobean court during this period, performing in February 1613 for George Chapman’s Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn.

In 1614, the Children of the Queen’s Revels’ lease for Whitefriars Theatre expired, and Rosseter obtained a license from King James to build a new theatre at Porter’s Hall, near the Blackfriars Theatre. Boundary changes brought the site within the City of London, however, where the lord mayor and aldermen strongly objected to the establishment of the theater. After a controversial trial in which Lord Chief Justice Coke found for the London authorities, the nearly-completed playhouse was demolished in 1617.   Rosseter made attempts to operate the boy actors, now known as the Children of the Late Queen’s Revels, as a touring company, but he withdrew as a shareholder by 1620, and the company disbanded shortly afterwards.  When Campion died in 1620, he had named Rosseter his sole heir. Rosseter died on May 5, 1623, in London, England.

My collection includes the following work by Philip Rosseter:

My Love Hath Vow’d.

Stillwater School, Barnesville, OH


Stillwater Monthly Meeting of Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends and School

61830 Sandy Ridge Road

Barnesville, Ohio, 43713

Stillwater Meeting has been the largest meeting in Ohio YM for many years. It meets in the Stillwater Meeting House east of Barnesville, Ohio. The Meeting House is owned by Ohio YM.  Stillwater Meeting was formed in 1803 by Friends from Wrightsborough, Georgia. These Friends had intended to settle in southwestern Ohio but were deterred by an epidemic. The first Stillwater meeting house was constructed c. 1804 on a location that is now in the burial ground.   The second Stillwater Meeting House was a one-story brick building that was constructed on the site of the current building. It was enlarged when Stillwater QM was established, creating an elongated meeting house that is occasionally found among 18th and 19th century Friends.  In 1878, the second Stillwater Meeting House was demolished and the current Ohio Yearly Meeting House constructed. Ohio Friends made the change after deciding to abandon the Mount Pleasant Yearly Meeting House. The Stillwater Meeting House is slightly smaller than Mount Pleasant. It was constructed without the gallery doors that the Hicksites had used in 1828 to throw Jonathan Taylor (men’s clerk) out of the building so they could appoint David Hilles as clerk. Other notable items about the Stillwater Meeting House is that it has a sloping floor, four rows of benches in the gallery (instead of the more common three), and faces east instead of south. The Charleston Fund granted $2,500 towards the construction of Stillwater, the largest amount it provided in the 19th century for a meeting house project.  Stillwater Meeting has been heavily involved with Olney Friends School since 1878. After the Ohio Supreme Court granted the Mount Pleasant Boarding School to the Gurneyites, the Wilburites constructed a new school south of the second Stillwater Meeting House. Many Stillwater Friends have served on the staff at Olney in addition to having been students.   Though built in 1878 to house the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Conservative Friends, the building contains a Quaker Heritage Museum in the lower level where visitors can learn more about the Quaker religion.  Located in Barnesville on Sandy Ridge Rd., it is open by appointment for groups by calling Belmont County Tourism Council at 740-695-4359.   About 100 feet west of the Meeting House porch, there is an unmarked red wooden school building which is now used as a First-Day School for children.

Jerry Ross and “Hernando’s Hideaway”


Jerry Ross (March 9, 1926 – November 11, 1955), born Jerold Rosenberg, was an American lyricist and composer whose works with Richard Adler for the musical theater include The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, winners of Tony Awards in 1955 and 1956, respectively, in both the “Best Musical” and “Best Composer and Lyricist” categories.  Ross was born on March 9, 1926, to Russian immigrant parents, Lena and Jacob Rosenberg, in the Bronx, New York City, NY. Growing up, he was a professional singer and actor in the Yiddish theater, where he was billed as the “Boy Star.”  Following high school he studied at New York University under Rudolph Schramm. Introductions to singer Eddie Fisher and others brought him into contact with music publishers at the Brill Building, the center of songwriting activity in New York.   Fisher later had a hit with Ross’ The Newspaper Song.

Ross met Richard Adler in 1950, and as a duo they became protégés of the great composer, lyricist, and publisher Frank Loesser. Their song Rags to Riches was recorded by Tony Bennett and reached number 1 on the charts in 1953.  Adler and Ross began their career in the Broadway Theater with John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, a revue for which they provided most of the songs, resulting in recordings of Acorn in the Meadow by Harry Belafonte and Fini by Polly Bergen.  Adler and Ross’s second effort, The Pajama Game, opened in May 1954. It was a big popular as well as critical success, winning Tony Awards as well as the Donaldson Award and the Variety Drama Critics Award. Two songs from the show, Hernando’s Hideaway (for Archie Bleyer) and Hey There (for Rosemary Clooney), topped the Hit Parade. Other notable songs were Steam Heat (famously choreographed on stage by Bob Fosse), Small Talk, and Seven And A Half Cents.

Opening almost exactly a year later, Ross and Adler’s next vehicle, Damn Yankees, replicated the awards and success of the earlier show. Cross-over hits from the show were Heart, recorded by Eddie Fisher, and Whatever Lola Wants for Sarah Vaughan.  Both shows ran on Broadway for over 1000 performances.  Ross died aged 29 in New York City, NY, on November 11, 1955, at the age of 29, from complications related to the lung disease bronchiectasis. In his short life Ross was extremely productive; he wrote, alone or in collaboration, more than 250 songs in addition to his theatre work.  Ross was entered posthumously into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982, his wife, Judy, and daughter, Janie, accepting on his behalf.

The following works by Jerry Ross are contained in my collection:

Damn Yankees (1955): Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets).

The Pajama Game (1954): Hernando’s Hideaway.

Leonard Rosenman and Main Title to “Barry Lyndon” (taken from Handel)


Leonard Rosenman (September 7, 1924 – March 4, 2008) was an American film, television and concert composer with credits in over 130 works, including Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and the animated The Lord of the Rings.   Rosenman was born on September 7, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York. After service in the Pacific with the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied composition with Arnold Schoenberg, Roger Sessions and Luigi Dallapiccola.  Amongst Rosenman’s earliest film work was the scores for James Dean movies East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Rosenman had lived together with Dean whom he gave piano lessons to and it was Dean who introduced him to the director Elia Kazan. Dean also lobbied George Stevens to let Rosenman score Giant, but Stevens preferred the more traditional Dimitri Tiomkin.

Rosenman composed the score for Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb (1955) regarded as the first major Hollywood score to be written in the Twelve-tone technique. His avant-garde music was used for Martin Ritt’s Edge of the City (1956) and John Frankenheimer’s The Young Stranger (1957). He composed scores for war films such as William Wellman’s biographical Lafayette Escadrille (1958), Lewis Milestone’s Pork Chop Hill (1959), Delbert Mann’s The Outsider (1961), Don Siegel’s Hell is for Heroes (1962) and the Combat! television series (1962). He wrote incidental music for such television series as Law of the Plainsman, The Defenders, The Twilight Zone, Gibbsville and Marcus Welby, M.D.  He went on to compose George Cukor’s The Chapman Report then Fantastic Voyage (1966) where he rejected producer Saul David’s instructions to write a jazz score.

Rosenman provided scores to science fiction films such as Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and the first, animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1978), Cross Creek (1983) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). In the 1970s he composed Bass Concerto Chamber Music 4 for bassist Buell Neidlinger and four string quartets with a second bass.  In 1995 Nonesuch Records issued an album of music from both East of Eden and Rebel Without A Cause, played by the London Sinfonietta conducted by John Adams.  In his 70s Rosenman was diagnosed with Frontotemporal dementia, a degenerative brain condition with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease.  He died on March 4, 2008, of a heart attack at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.  Rosenman earned two Academy Awards:  Barry Lyndon (1975), for Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation (music by Handel, Schubert and others), and Bound for Glory (1976), for Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score (the songs of Woody Guthrie).  He received two additional Academy Award nominations, and also received two Emmy Awards:

My collection includes the following work by Leonard Rosenman:

Barry Lyndon (1975): Main Title (after the Sarabande of George Frederick Handel).

Bernard Rogers and Once Upon a Time: Five Fairy Tales


Bernard Rogers (February 4, 1893 –May 24, 1968) was an American composer and professor of composition and chair of the composition department at Eastman School of Music from 1930 to 1967.  Rogers was born in New York City, NY, on February 4, 1893, and studied architecture before turning to music. His early composition teachers were Hans van der Berg, Arthur Farwell, Percy Goetschius, and Ernest Bloch. After the successful premiere of his symphonic elegy, To the Fallen, by the New York Philharmonic in 1919, Rogers was awarded a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship for study in Europe. In 1927, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and with Frank Bridge in London.

Rogers began to teach composition and orchestration at Eastman when he returned to the United States in 1929. In the ensuing 38 years, he taught more than 700 composers, many of whom went on to achieve international prominence.  Also he taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music and The Hartt School. His pupils included Stephen Albert, Dominick Argento, Jacob Avshalomov, William Bergsma, David Borden, Will Gay Bottje, David Diamond, Walter Hartley, Ronald Lo Presti, Ulysses Kay, John La Montaine, W. Francis McBeth, Ron Nelson, Burrill Phillips, Gardner Read, H. Owen Reed, Robert Ward, John Weinzweig, Richard Lane and Clifton Williams among others.

Rogers’ work as a composer included five symphonies, five operas, several major choral works, other works for orchestra, three cantatas, Lieder, and numerous works of chamber music. His one-act opera “The Warrior,” for which Norman Corwin wrote the libretto, received its premiere at The Metropolitan Opera on January 11, 1947.  He received honorary doctorates from Valparaiso University and Wayne State University, and was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1947. His book The Art of Orchestration has been acknowledged as a classic in its field since its publication in 1951.  Also he was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. Retired from Eastman in 1967, he died in Rochester, NY, on May 24, 1968.

The following work by Bernard Rogers is contained in my collection:

Once Upon a Time: Five Fairy Tales.