Edizioni Curci has just published three new editions of previously unavailable works for solo piano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: a volume of early compositions from the composer’s years in Italy, titled Piano Works – Vol.1 “Firenze”; a volume of works written during his time in America, titled Piano Works – Vol. 2 “Hollywood”; and a third, stand-alone publication of his Six Pieces in the Form of Canons (1947). All three have been edited by the eminent composer and musicologist Angelo Gilardino and join Curci’s already extensive Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco was himself a pianist, and his compositions for piano, such as I Cipressi (Cypresses) and Il Raggio Verde (The Green Flash), were among his first international successes in the 1920s. However, some of his piano compositions had remained unpublished or had been out-of-print for many years. Thanks to the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, many more of the composer’s works are now available to musicians.
Piano Works – Vol.1 “Firenze” brings together four piano compositions that Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote during the happiest years of his life. Calma (a Giramonte); Cielo di Settembre, and Primavera Fiorentina were originally composed in 1910-1911, before young Mario began to study with Ildebrando Pizzetti. The fourth piece, which he titled “terrazze,” although composed in full maturity, is inspired by the indelible memory of his golden years of adolescence and youth. All four works are inspired by the landscapes and art that surrounded the composer in his native Tuscany. This is Florentine music in the purest sense of the term, imbued with the spirit of a humanistic culture that would have in Castelnuovo-Tedesco one of its very last exponents.
Piano Works – Vol. 2 “Hollywood” highlights three compositions Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote after emigrating to America: Stars: Four Sketches for Piano; Nocturne in Hollywood; and El Encanto. Here one can observe the composer’s commitment to accommodating the tastes and expectations of both the performers and audiences of his new world, yet without listing sight of his own cultural, artistic, and musical roots. In these works the forms and approach to piano composition appear unchanged, despite his shift in direction. Rather, they gain the amused irony of the urbane Tuscan humanist, who looked upon the frivolity of the Hollywood star system with affection and insight.
In Six Pieces in Form of Canons, also written in America, Castelnuovo-Tedesco combines his contrapuntal prowess and his musical imagination in a clear and sparkling piano composition. In this work the doctrinal aspect occasionally prevails, but without impeding the composer from giving life to poetic moments that range from the meditative to the amusing. These pieces are both lessons in style and delightfully fresh musical creations.
All three publications are available in both printed editions and digital formats from Edizioni Curci.