Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco composed 52 Greeting Cards for various instruments between 1953 and 1967, which he developed in a non-systematic manner up to the year before his death. These pieces were conceived as gifts for his interpreters, friends, and students, whom the author wished to delight with short musical portraits. The 18 Greeting Cards for piano (17 for solo piano and one for two pianos) represent an equilibrium between experimentation and tradition. During the composer’s life, only a handful of these short works were published. Now, for the first time, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s complete Greeting Cards for piano are available in a critical edition, edited by Luca Ciammarughi and published by Ricordi.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco called these pieces “alphabetical pieces” since they are based on musical cryptograms: each opens with a sequence of notes based on the name (and usually also on the last name) of the dedicatee. Among those who received Greeting Cards from Castelnuovo-Tedesco were interpreters of his piano music such as Walter Gieseking, friends such as the composer Nino Rota, and students such as André Previn.