First Collection of Musicological Essays about Castelnuovo-Tedesco published in Italy

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /
Nuovo volume su Castelnuovo-Tedesco

L’ignoto iconoclasta:studi su Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco [The Unknown Iconoclast: Studies about Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco], published in late 2019 by Libreria Musicale Italiana, grew out of an idea by Assonanze (The Association of Young Musicologists of Sapienza University of Rome) and was developed following the international conference of the same name, held at the University in 2018.

The volume, edited by Alessandro Avallone and Gianluca Bocchino and published in Italian, is a compilation of papers presented during the conference It is the first collection of musicological essays about Castelnuovo-Tedesco to be published. 

As Professor Susanna Pasticci writes in the book’s preface:

There are stories that merit being told and music that merits being heard, but that often do not receive attention in the great historiographic surveys because they do not easily fit into conventional categories.  The case of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco is a very significant example of the difficulty of recounting the musical experience of an artist who seems to have deliberately avoided any possible categorization. Therefore he is a complex personality, who nonetheless was able to play an active role in the cultural developments of his time by means of both his music and his writings about it.  Endowed with splendid creative flair and sustained by solid technical preparation, Castelnuovo-Tedesco was also a very fine intellectual of cosmopolitan training and attitudes, who pursued activity as a music critic in parallel to his work as a pianist and composer.

Essays in the book explore the historical and cultural context of the composer’s oeuvre, including his vocal music written in Italy for a variety of different ensembles and purposes, his musical activity during his first years in the United States (1940-43), his experience composing for Hollywood films, as well as the work that bridges his Italian and American years, Aucassin et Nicolette.  Here is a complete list of the contents of the volume:


Susanna Pasticci Il “sorriso di canzonatura” di Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Prefazione)
Franco Piperno

Castelnuovo-Tedesco e il neoclassicismo

Aloma Bardi L’America musicale e culturale di Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Note dalla lunga traversata
Antonio Rostagno Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco e l’assenza di una generazione
Mila De Santis Aucassin et Nicolette, una cantafavola tra due mondi
Gianluca Bocchino Castelnuovo-Tedesco e le musiche di scena per il “Savonarola” al Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Simone Caputo

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco a Hollywood: compositore di film score, original music e stock music

Alessandro Maras

La polifonia vocale profana di Castelnuovo-Tedesco: fra Monteverdi, Pizzetti e “neomadrigali”

Silvia D’Anzelmo,  Valerio Sebastiani

Il crepuscolarismo di Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: intersezioni con la poetica di Aldo Palazzeschi

Alessandro Avallone, Emanuele Franceschetti

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco e Paul Valery:
Ragioni e esiti di un incontro musicale


“The main objective of this book is to build awareness of the work of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, which has been overlooked in many cases,” explains Professor Pasticci. “Without a tradition of studies dedicated to Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the authors of this volume found themselves cultivating completely untouched territory, a rewarding task because it paved the way for a variety of directions for possible study. Some of the contributors embarked on the path of studying archival material and accessed the vast bequest of the composer held at the Library of Congress, which includes his manuscripts, his working documents, and his letters. However, other research projects presented in this volume demonstrate that Italian archives, especially those in Florence, also have rich holdings of important documents for the study of the composer’s work.”

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