Viva la pappa col pomodoro
(Nino Rota-LIna Wertmüller) - Rita Pavone, 1965
I had to supervise, in the RCA studies, the realization of the soundtrack and the related LP for the RAI eight-episode series Il Giornalino Gian Burrasca, based on the book of the same name written in the early twentieth century by the Florentine Luigi Bertelli, aka Vamba. Filming was slated for June. Surprisingly, it would have Rita Pavone in the leading role, an exceptional cast of great actors and was to be directed by Lina Wertmüller, whom I had known and appreciated since 1957, when she directed me in the musical comedy L'adorabile Giulio with Delia Scala and Carlo Dapporto.I had the considerable responsibility of overseeing the punctual technical-artistic realization of all the music and the songs composed by a great and, for me, unforgettable maestro: Nino Rota, the composer of all the soundtracks for Federico Fellini's film masterpieces. When he first let Rita and I listen to the anthem sung by the boarding school kids, called Viva la pappa col pomodoro we were quite disappointed, because the rhythm was a sort of old-fashioned minuet and it strongly clashed with the “young world” that Rita and her fans shared. And here the modesty typical of truly great artists shone through, as he willingly accepted two suggestions from me: accompanying the voice with a “bounce rhythm” that would make the track “danceable” for millions of kids, and entrusting the introduction to the Austrian zither player Anton Karas, the composer of the famous soundtrack for the movie The Third Man; the same one with whom I had my first theatrical tour at the beginning of the fifties, whom I personally went to “pick up” from his Viennese restaurant where, incidentally, I met and spent an unforgettable dance evening together with one the most beautiful lyrical voices of the last century, as well as a woman full of charm: the soprano Renata Tebaldi.
Quoted from: Reno, Teddy, Ricordi, Roma, Gremese, 2001, pp. 135-136