Castelnuovo-Tedesco the Pianist

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

A recording of Castelnuovo-Tedesco performing a selection from his Tre corali su melodie ebraiche  at the Sagra Musicale Umbra in Perugia in 1954 provides a rare opportunity to hear the composer at the piano. The recording, which was recently posted online, was originally broadcast in 1974 on the New York radio show “The Music of Israel,” hosted by Dr. Avraham Samuel Soltes. 

In the 1950s Mario occasionally performed his works in public, both in California, where he was living, as well as in Italy, where he regularly spent time. These performances included works for solo piano as well as participating in chamber music performances. Overall, however, after emigrating to the United States, he performed much less frequently than he had earlier in his career. During his years in Italy, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a sought-after pianist and accompanist and had toured with some of the most famous singers of his day. He was known for performing from memory, whether his own works or those of other composers.

In 1939-1940, his first year in the United States, he performed his own works on several occasions as he sought to establish himself in his adopted country.  Most notable of those experiences was his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic on 2 November 1939, when he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Opus 92.  After moving to California to work in the film industry in late 1940, he mostly withdrew from concert performances, preferring to spend what free time he had on his own compositions.