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News

06 Jan

2020 Recordings: Music for Guitar

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Year upon year, guitarists around the world explore the compositions of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and to bring them to life in new recordings. 2019 brought important monograph CDs by Angelo Marchese and Giacomo Palazzesi, the release of a pair of two exceptional recordings of the Guitar Quintet (one by Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet and the other by Jason Vieaux and the Escher Quartet), and many more. 

In 2020 guitarists continued to interpret Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s masterworks on their latest recordings: 

GUITAR CHAMBER MUSIC

  • Giuseppe Buscemi and Gianni Bicchierini, the Antipodes Duo, perform the Fantasia for guitar and piano on Dances & Dreams: Dances, Fantasias, and Serenades for Guitar and Piano (Da Vinci Classics);
  • Marisa Minder’s debut CD includes the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Guitar Quintet, performed with violinists Dmitry Smirnov and Yaryna Tyno; cellist Eléonore Willi, and violist Alexander Zemtsov (Naxos);
  • Nicolò Spera and the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir capture the unique beauty of the Romancero Gitano on their CD, Music for Guitar and Choir (Brilliant Classics).

SOLO GUITAR

TWO GUITARS

  • Peter and Zoltan Katona,  known as The Katona Twins, include several excerpts from Les Guitares Bien Temperées on their CD Hollywood & Swing (Solo Musica).

If we’ve somehow missed your recent recording project,  please reach out to us at mctcomposerinfo@gmail.com and let us know about it.

Thank you to the artists, and happy new year to all!

 

14 Dec

Food for the Soul: New Recordings 2020

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

With few live concerts due to the pandemic, this year virtual performances have delivered much-needed beauty and hope to keep us going in these challenging times.  Many wonderful artists have released recordings of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music in the past (check out this list); in 2020,  an array of new monograph recording projects have brought to light even more of the composer’s extensive catalog. They include:

Opera

The Importance of Being Earnest (Odyssey Opera)

Mario’s final opera setting, completed in 1962, is now available in a complete recording by Boston’s Odyssey Opera. This witty chamber opera for eight singers, two pianos, and percussion had only been performed a handful of times before Odyssey presented the Boston premiere as part of its 2016-2017 season, to very positive reviews. “Set to music in a continually clever fashion by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Oscar Wilde’s greatest comedy takes on a new life,” writes Gil Rose, Artistic and General Director of Odyssey Opera. “Opera buffs will be intrigued with the many opera quotations and references.” 

Vocal music

Songs from a Lost world of Italian-Jewish Composers, Vol III (Blue Griffin)

Soprano Caroline Helton and collaborative pianist Kathryn Goodson, colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, have released their third exploration of Italian-Jewish composers, which focuses exclusively on Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s rarely-heard settings of Italian poetry. In her thoughtful liner notes, Prof. Helton writes, “In an effort to fulfill Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s wish that his songs define his legacy through their continued performance, we offer these first recordings of five sets of songs in Italian, four of which were written before his wrenching expatriation in 1939, and one written in 1949, after he became an American citizen. The variety of texts is breathtaking and a testament to his literary curiosity and appetite. From Petrarch to prose, from folk poetry in dialect to humorous first person ballads, what shines through is the humanity of the text, in all its complexity and sincere emotion.”

Chamber Music

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Chamber Music (Brilliant Classics)

After their triple-CD set of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music for violin and piano in 2018, the Gran Duo Italiano (Mauro Tortorelli, violin, and Angela Meluso, piano) have joined forces with Massimo Macrì (first cello of the RAI National Orchestra in Turin) and Pierluigi Bernard (first clarinet of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra) to record a selection of the composer’s chamber music for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, in various combinations. The highlight of the album is the world premiere recording of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s quartet for violin, piano, cello and clarinet, the Pastorale and Rondo, written in 1958 but not published until 2017. The CD also includes the Cello Sonata (1928), the Second Piano Trio in G minor (1932), and the jazz-inflected Clarinet Sonata, op.128 (1945). 

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Music for Violin and Piano (Brilliant Classics)

Fulvio Luciani and Massimiliano Motterle, long-time advocates for and performers of the composer’s music, have recorded a selection of works including the Concerto no.3, a sonata-like three movement piece for violin and piano commissioned by Heifetz in 1939 (but never performed by the great violin virtuoso and only recently published). Luciani and Motterle are intimately familiar with the work: they performed the modern premiere in Italy in 2016. In addition to some miniatures from the composer’s Italian years, the album includes two world premieres written after his arrival in America: Twelve Chopin Preludes, transcribed for violin and piano by the composer in 1946, as well as Three Brahms Intermezzi transcribed for violin and piano by Castelnuovo-Tedesco in 1947 and dedicated to the great violinist Tossy Spivakovsky. 

Piano Music

Castelnuovo-Tedesco Dedications (Digressione Music)

This is the second recording project that the pianist Angelo Arciglione has devoted to Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s piano work. Arciglione focuses on works from the composer’s American years, all of which were dedicated to friends and colleagues in the musical world. Most of the tracks are world premiere recordings. “To these musicians, for which the composer had the highest consideration, and to their great human and artistic value, Castelnuovo-Tedesco offered precious and sincere homages, collected here with passion and instrumental wisdom by Angelo Arciglione,” writes musicologist Eleonora Negri in the informative liner notes.  

Thank you to all the artists for their fine work!

New recordings of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s guitar works will be featured in a future post.

 

 

 

01 Jul

Virtual Roundtable on the Art Songs of Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

A virtual roundtable on Sunday, 12 July 2020 at 3 p.m. Eastern (12 noon Pacific, 21h Central European)  will focus on a genre very dear to Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: art songs.  Much of his prolific output (220 songs), which the composer called “my most sincere and personal expressions,”  is rarely heard today and, until recently, had remained unrecorded. In conjunction with the release of Songs from a Lost World of Italian-Jewish Composers, Vol. III, the event will be a conversation about, and a chance to listen to, some of the composer’s settings of Italian poetry, and it will include a discussion of the context in which the songs were composed.
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15 Jun

Exploring Los Caprichos de Goya

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

“Where can I find more information about Los Caprichos de Goya ?” is a question that often arises.

For those wishing to learn more about this cycle, which the composer himself described as his most ambitious guitar work, there are several primary sources (currently available only in Italian): the pages Mario dedicated to the work in his autobiography, Una Vita di Musica: Un Libro di Ricordi, published by Cadmo in 2005, as well as the letters of Andres Segovia to the composer, published in the volume Caro Mario: Lettere a Castelnuovo-Tedesco, edited by Angelo Gilardino and published by Edizioni Curci in 2018. Gilardino also discusses the work in the biography Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Un Fiorentino a Beverly Hills also published in 2018 by Curci In English, one can consult Lily Afshar’s 1989 dissertation, “Los Caprichos de Goya and their relation to Goya’s etchings” and several other doctoral theses, as well as the liner notes to Zoran Dukic’s 2009 recording of Los Caprichos  for Naxos.
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10 Jun

Spotlight on Suite 508 for viola and piano

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco mused in his autobiography  that if by chance his name were still remembered 100 years hence, musicologists might hear the title Suite 508 and ask, “What happened to the other 507 suites?”

He explained the origin of the title: Suite 508 was the number of his apartment in the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University (MSU) when he spent a semester as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the autumn of 1959. His stay in Michigan took place at the height of his post-war career, after he had made international headlines when he won the International Campari Prize for his opera The Merchant of Venice.
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02 Apr

In Celebration of Mario’s 125th birthday

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

On April 3, 1895,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence “in the shadow of the Duomo,” as he liked to say.  Although his guitar compositions have always been popular, his chamber music, works for solo piano, orchestral music, and art songs were rarely performed for many years. Fortunately, in recent times his catalog has been rediscovered by a new generation of artists and audiences, in an ever-expanding collection of marvelous recordings. This rediscovery due in no small part to the availability of new editions of his compositions, primarily The Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection from Edizioni Curci, under the leadership of Angelo Gilardino, as well as from Ricordi, Theodore Presser, Alphonse Leduc, Carl Fischer, and others.  In honor of Mario’s 125th birthday, the composer’s family would like to thank all of the artists and scholars who have dedicated their passion, sensitivity, and energy into presenting this music, and the story behind it, to the public.
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20 Mar

Emigre Composers in Hollywood

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

“During the war, the greatest names in music, both composers and performers, came to live in Hollywood and the surrounding area….Heifetz, Piatigorsky, Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Iturbi, Horowitz, Szigeti, Stokowski, Walter, Schönberg, Stravinsky, Toch, Tansman, and many others.”  — Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, A Life of Music: A Book of Memories.

In a new CD, Exiles in Paradise: Emigre Composers in Hollywood (Naxos), Brinton Averil Smith and Evelyn Chen explore, with artistry and finesse, the diverse output of the European expatriates through music for cello and piano. The recording includes Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s i Nottambuli [“The Nightowls”], a work written while the composer was still living in Italy and inspired by his evening strolls in Florence.
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03 Mar

Premiere of the Cello Concerto in Poland

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Unfortunately, the premiere of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s concerto for cello and orchestra has been cancelled due to the international health emergency caused by COVID-19. The Italian cellist Silvia Chiesa had been scheduled to perform the work on March 20, 2020 in Jelenia Góra with The Lower Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Massimiliano Caldi. The organizers and the artists are in discussions about rescheduling the event for 2021. For updates: www.silviachiesa.com.
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24 Feb

Now Available: First Recording of The Importance of Being Earnest

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Boston’s Odyssey Opera recently announced the release of its latest recording, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Importance of Being Earnest. Scored for a cast of eight singers, two pianos and percussion, this witty three act chamber opera brings Oscar Wilde’s most famous play to life with music that pokes as much fun at the opera world as Wilde does with Victorian society.
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