Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco did not know Gabriele D’Annunzio when the poet was at the height of his fame, but their lives intersected on various occasions. Ad Ariel con un ramo di Ginepro: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco incontra Gabriele D’Annunzio is a new book by Alessandro Panajia, Cesare Orselli, and Antonio Cambi (Edizioni Tassinari, in Italian) that gathers the traces that remain of the relationship between the composer and the Comandante.
The book begins with Mario’s first memory of D’Annunzio – as a child, saw he noticed D’Annunzio riding his horse amid the breakers at Marina di Pisa with his beautiful mistress, the Marchesa Rudini. Their interactions concluded with the composer’s letter to D’Annunzio in February 1938, shortly before the poet’s death. Mario shared his worries for the future after performances of music by Jewish composers were cancelled, pre-dating the announcement of Mussolini’s racial laws which ultimately obliged Castelnuovo-Tedesco into exile in the United States the following year.
The book is illustrated with photos, letters, and souvenirs, and also includes reproductions of two unpublished manuscript scores: La Sera Fiesolana, a setting for voice and piano of D’Annunzio’s poem by that name; and Processional Song in Praise of St. Ephesius Goccius, for soprano and four voice chorus.