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News

28 Jun

Chamber Music: Benjamin Bernstein Interview

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

In the late 1940s, after working for some years as a film composer in Hollywood, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco found his way back to chamber music, a genre he had always loved. Mario was inspired to write his celebrated Quintet for Guitar and Strings, op. 143, as well as other works that remained unpublished for many years. Thanks to the collaboration between Edizioni Curci and the composer’s family, many of these works are now published and available in the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection. The Ensemble Mark Rothko, based in Northern Italy, has dedicated its latest recording project to Mario’s music from this period. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Chamber Works (Da Vinci Classics) includes the world premiere recording of the Third String Quartet “Casa al Dono,”  op.203 (1964).  The composer’s final quartet, a work filled with nostalgia for Tuscany, is dedicated to the composer’s friend Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), the great scholar of Italian renaissance art. Benjamin Bernstein, Ensemble Mark Rothko’s violist, kindly accepted our invitation to tell us about this project and the group’s experience recording Mario’s music for the first time. 
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25 May

Solo guitar music: Antonio Rugolo Interview

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

For his latest recording project, award-winning Italian guitarist Antonio Rugolo explores all of the works that Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote for solo guitar during his Italian years. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Complete Italian Solo Guitar Music (Brilliant Classics) was born from Antonio’s desire to return to the Florentine composer’s scores, starting not from the classic editions revised by Andrés Segovia and published by Ricordi and Schott, but from the more recent manuscript-based editions published by Bèrben and Ricordi under the supervision of Angelo Gilardino and Luigi Biscaldi. In the liner notes, the guitarist explains that his intention was to highlight all the ideas Castelnuovo-Tedesco put forth in his guitar scores, with particular attention to the Sonata (Omaggio a Boccherini), the Capriccio Diabolico, and the TarantellaAntonio kindly agreed to tell us more about his experiences studying and recording this music. 
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11 May

Songs of the Shulamite Reborn

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

In his later years, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco often returned to the Bible as a source of inspiration. In 1953 he wrote Songs of the Shulamite, a work for voice, flute, harp and string quartet, set to verses from the Song of Songs. Performed for the first time in Los Angeles in 1963 under the auspices of the University of Judaism, the work remained unpublished and unperformed for decades.  Samuel Magill, former Associate Principal Cello, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and today Principal Cello, Western Piedmont Symphony, wanted to explore and champion this unknown work.  Sam and his collaborators in the North Carolina-based ensemble Sono Auros – flutist Lucian Rinando and harpist Grace Ludtke –  along with guest artists soprano Jodi Burns, violinists Janet Orenstein and Stephanie Ezerman, and violist Maureen Michels will perform this cycle on 17 May 2023 as part of a concert program at Temple Emanuel of Greensboro, North Carolina. The event will surely be the work’s first performance in the twenty-first century! Sam tells us more about the project in the following interview.
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29 Mar

Evangélion on stage: Alessandro Marangoni Interview

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco considered Evangélion “the high point” of his piano compositions. Written in 1949, Evangélion: The Story of Jesus, Narrated to the Children in 28 Little Pieces for Piano, was often misunderstood during the composer’s life. It was rarely performed and essentially forgotten for decades. In 2014 the Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni made the world premiere complete recording of this cycle for Naxos. In collaboration with the Italian actress Claudia Koll as the narrator, he has performed Evangélion all over Italy and abroad in a multi-sensorial production conceived by director Stefano Sgarella.  On the occasion of an upcoming performance in Palermo on 3 April, 2023 (Mario’s birthday!), Alessandro kindly agreed to tell us about the show they have created and about his experience bringing this intense work to the public. 
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14 Mar

Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s guitar repertoire via his correspondence with Andrés Segovia

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s 36-year collaboration with the legendary guitarist Andrés Segovia resulted in 35 works featuring the guitar. The correspondence between these two artists provides an unprecedented source of information for performers and scholars. Beginning in 2014, for his PhD thesis at the University of Surrey, the guitarist Benjamin Bruant began a six-year journey that led him to eventually gather and translate into English (from the original French) Segovia’s letters to MCT  as well as the extant letters by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, held in the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Papers at the Library of Congress. Published in 2021, his doctoral thesis, From Commission to Publication: a Study of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Repertoire Informed by his Correspondence with Andrés Segovia, presents his annotated translations of decades of correspondence along with commentary on each of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s compositions discussed in the letters. Benjamin kindly agreed to tell us more about his project in this recent interview. 
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20 Feb

Happy Birthday Andrés Segovia

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

21 February 2023 marks the 130th birthday of Andrés Segovia.  In celebration of this milestone and the friendship and artistic collaboration between Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Segovia,  we would like to share some extracts from the essay Mario wrote for Segovia’s 3-LP box set, Segovia: The Golden Jubilee, released in November 1958 to honor the guitarist’s fifty year career.  Mario’s essay recognizes Segovia’s unique artistry and chronicles their artistic relationship, as well as highlighting some of the dozens of works Segovia commissioned from other composers. The boxed set was met with critical success. Not only did reviewers praise the quality of the recording  and the addition of newly recorded compositions to Segovia’s discography,  but they also drew attention to the important contributions presented in the booklet.  The Golden Jubilee boxed set was awarded a Grammy Award in 1959.
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04 Feb

Rediscovering the life of Fernando Liuzzi

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s brother-in-law Fernando Liuzzi (1884-1940) was also a close friend and colleague. A composer, musicologist, music critic, and professor of aesthetics, Liuzzi had a successful career in Italy that abruptly ended when Mussolini’s racial laws came into effect. Like Mario, Liuzzi found his way to New York just before World War II. However, he soon returned to Italy after suffering a serious heart attack at age 55; he died a few months later, in October 1940. In the intervening years, Liuzzi’s life and work have remained in the shadows. Professor Patrizia Guarnieri, historian at the University of Florence and director of the digital history project Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy, has just published an in-depth and meticulously researched exploration of Liuzzi’s life and career. It is available on the English version of the site here.
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31 Jan

Guitar Chamber Music: Stein-Erik Olsen Interview

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

As part of our occasional series of interviews with performers about their experiences recording Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s chamber music, we posed some questions to Stein-Erik Olsen, the esteemed Norwegian guitarist and professor at the Grieg Academy of the University of Bergen. He has a long-standing commitment to guitar chamber music,  demonstrated once again by his latest release: Stein-Erik Olsen: The Fifties and NOW (Simax Classics)
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10 Dec

Greeting Cards: Cristiano Porqueddu Interview

Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco / News /

Cristiano Porqueddu is recognized as one of the major interpreters of 20th and 21st century guitar music. His activities encompass live performances, recording projects and composition work. In November 2022 he released his latest project, a double CD that represents the first complete recording of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Greeting Cards for guitar based on the 2019 Ricordi edition edited by Frédéric Zigante. Cristiano kindly agreed to tell us about his experiences studying and recording these intimate and sometimes illusive pieces.
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