Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco is among the men and women featured in Exile and Creativity, a volume of essays inspired by a series of programs held in 2017-18 by the Italian Cultural Institute in New York jointly with Centro Primo Levi. The essays examine the lives of intellectuals, artists, and scientists who were forced into or chose exile during the Fascist era. Among those highlighted in the book are the Nobel-prize winning physicist Enrico Fermi, the sculptor Costantino Nivola, the writer and cultural figure Amelia Rosselli, and the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini.
Although the narratives of exile generally focus on disorientation and loss, the curator of the series, Giorgio Van Straten, states in the book’s introduction that exile is “also something found: an opportunity, a new culture capable of sparking unexpected, unforeseen developments along one’s path through life and, therefore, the possible enrichment of one’s humanistic and cultural heritage.”
The essay about Castelnuovo-Tedesco was written by musicologist Dr. Tina Frühauf, adjunct associate professor at Columbia University and a member of the doctoral faculty of The Graduate Center of City University of New York. Dr. Frühauf focuses her attention on Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s emigration story, the role of his Jewish heritage in his art, and on two of the composer’s works for voice and guitar that reflect the long term pain of exile and dislocation. The Ballata dall’Esilio, composed in 1956, is a setting of verses by the poet Guido Cavalcanti, who was exiled from Florence by Dante Alighieri in 1300. The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra, conceived by Castelnuovo-Tedesco a decade later, is an extensive song cycle based on the creative expression of yet another exile, Moses ben Jacob Ezra (b.1055/60 – d.1038), one of the most artistically distinguished poets of the Andalusian Golden Age of Jewish culture.
Exile and Creativity is available in paperback or ebook formats here.
Listen to the complete Divan of Moses-ibn-Ezra performed by Giulio Tampalini and Joanna Klisowska here. Selections from the Divan of Moses-ibn-Ezra performed by Izhar Elias and Channa Malkin can be heard here.