Nino Rota (1911-1979) was the quintessential child prodigy. By age 11, he had already composed an oratorio and had matriculated at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome. After graduating from Philadelphia's Curtis Institute, he returned to Italy and gained an international reputation as a composer of concert music including four symphonies, eight operas, and numerous other works. His fame and recognition outside Italy, however, came from his scores for films, including a long association with director Federico Fellini. He won an Oscar for The Godfather, Part II.
American director Francis Ford Coppola's films about la cosa nostra in America have become American classics, in which Rota's underscore becomes an invisible character that binds together the "family" of characters. John Mauceri has taken Rota's cues from the first two Godfather movies (Rota died before the third was made) and arranged them in chronological order of the Corleone family's journey from Sicily to New York and the pinnacle of mob power. This is the world premiere of this music in this new guise as an evocative tone poem.