• Newsletter



1 February 2016. "What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand to Record?": Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's settings of Whitman and Shakespeare texts. A CD of unpublished manuscripts.

A continued ICAMus research on music manuscripts.

ICAMus announces the release of the CD:

"What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand to Record?": Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's settings of Whitman and Shakespeare texts.

Salvatore Champagne, tenor  ~  Howard Lubin, piano


CD Program:


Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman)

10-Song Cycle Opus. 89b; Composed: Florence & other nearby locations in Tuscany, 1936; Unpublished Manuscript; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, The Library of Congress Music Division, Washington, DC, USA.

Shakespeare Sonnets: Selection (William Shakespeare)

Opus 125; Composed: Beverly Hills, CA, 1944-1945, 1947, 1963; Unpublished Manuscript; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, The Library of Congress Music Division, Washington, DC, USA.


This recording of unpublished, masterful settings of Whitman and Shakespeare by Florence-born American composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) is a collaboration of ICAMus with Oberlin Music, a commercial label from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, since September 2013 in a special partnership and distribution agreement with Naxos of America. Naxos will serve as the exclusive CD distributor of Oberlin Music recordings across the United States and Canada, in addition to digital distribution of all Oberlin Music titles internationally.


MCT Shakespeare Sonnets - MS. Index (1533x2000) (770x1000) (693x900) (674x875).jpg MCT CD - Image 28 (681x866).jpg

Content of Castelnuovo-Tedesco CD Booklet.

The Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco CD features: Tenor Salvatore Champagne and pianist Howard Lubin; a 50-page Booklet with original essays by historian James Westby, an authority on Castelnuovo-Tedesco and the cataloguer of his works, Mila De Santis, Aloma Bardi, John Champagne; texts of the poems, documents, many archival images. Aloma Bardi has researched and coordinated material for the Booklet.


MCT CD - Image 22 (680x695).jpg

Castelnuovo-Tedesco CD Release Announcement.

The upcoming CD release was publicly announced in Florence, on June 8, 2015, at the Lyceum Club Internazionale di Firenze, a historic Florentine cultural institution where Castelnuovo-Tedesco repeatedly appeared as a pianist in the years prior to his expatriation of 1939, when he emigrated to the US with his family, as a consequence of the enforcement of the Racial Laws.

The June 8 event comprised a Conference and a Recital of the entirely unpublished CD program from the Library of Congress manuscripts. The event was an international collaboration of ICAMus with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo (SAGAS) dell'Università degli Studi di FirenzeDottorato interuniversitario Pegaso - Regione Toscana in Storia delle Arti e Storia dello Spettacolo, and the Lyceum Club Internazionale - Sezione Musica, Eleonora Negri, President. Please visit the ICAMus June 8, 2015 double event (Conference and Concert) for detailed information on the program and the participants.


SalvatoreHowardProject-007 (1333x2000) (1066x1600).jpg

An Introductory Note to the Texts.

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Whitman and Shakespeare Reader

An Introductory Note to the Texts 



The Whitman and Shakespeare texts set by Castelnuovo-Tedesco coincide with the standard published edition of the poems by the two authors, with few minor exceptions of variants in the Shakespeare Sonnets.

            We know from various sources about the dissemination of Whitman’s poems in Italy in the 1930s. From Una Vita di Musica we learn that the volume of Leaves of Grass, in the original language, was given to the composer by his physician. In addition, the composer fondly mentions an old book of Shakespeare Complete Plays, a gift from his teacher Miss Marta Frank, that he so often would read; however, there is no mention of the Sonnets.

As for both Leaves of Grass and the Sonnets, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s autobiography Una vita di musica, his correspondence and what is extant of his library contain no information from the textual standpoint. In the last section of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Papers at The Library of Congress (“Bound Materials Owned by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, 1822-1965”) no Leaves of Grass or Shakespeare’s Sonnets editions are preserved, although a few plays are extant in the Collection, four volumes in all: As You Like It, 1909; The Tempest, 1948; The Winter’s Tale, 1950; The Merchant of Venice, 1951.

            The modern authoritative text standard edition of Shakespeare is considered the volume in quarto format published by Thomas Thorpe, printed by G. Eld and sold by William Aspley (London, 1609) that the Arden Shakespeare largely reproduces with adapted spelling. Castelnuovo-Tedesco in some instances appears to adopt an archaic form, such as “rime” for “rhyme”, as in the 1914 Oxford edition (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. London: Oxford University Press).

Where the text printed here does not exactly reproduce the modern authoritative edition of the Sonnets, it is because the composer’s setting diverges from it; editorial choices have been made as to whether to include some of the variants. The unpublished holograph manuscripts had never been subject to a critical revision, which accounts for some minor musical and textual inconsistencies in the score. This recording and booklet are a first step towards the publication of a critical edition of the settings.

In the design of the CD, the selection of 17 Shakespeare Sonnets is presented in order of composition with one exception: Sonnet CIV (To me, fair friend) is placed third instead of first, for purely musical reasons.  


MCT CD - Image 30.jpg

Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare Texts.



Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman)

10-Song Cycle Opus. 89b; Composed: Florence & other nearby locations in Tuscany, 1936; Unpublished Manuscript; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, The Library of Congress Music Division, Washington, DC, USA.



What think you I take my pen in hand to record?

The battle-ship, perfect-model’d, majestic, that I saw pass the

            offing to-day under full sail?

The splendors of the past day? or the splendor of the night that

            envelops me?

Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city spread around

            me? – no;

But I record of two simple men I saw to-day on the pier in the

            midst of the crowd, parting the parting of dear friends,

The one to remain hung on the other’s neck and passionately

            kiss’ed him

While the one to depart tightly prest the one to remain in his arms.



I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of

            the whole of the rest of the earth,

I dream’d that was the new city of Friends,

Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it led

            the rest,

It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,

And in all their looks and words.



Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I

            effuse unreturn’d love,

But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain

            one way or another,

(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’d,

Yet out of that I have written these songs.)



We two boys together clinging,

One the other never leaving,

Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making,

Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching,

Arm’d and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving,

No law less than ourselves owning, sailing soldiering, thieving,


Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking,

            On the turf or the sea-beach dancing,

Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness


Fulfilling our foray.



Are you the new person drawn toward me?

To begin with take warning, I am surely far different from what

            you suppose;

Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?

Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?

Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?

Do you think I am trusty and faithful?

Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant

            manner of me?

 Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a

            real heroic man?

Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya,




When I peruse the conquer’d fame of heroes and the victories

            of mighty generals, I do not envy the generals,

Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great


But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with


How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging,

            long and long,

How through youth and through middle and old age, how unfaltering,

            how affectionate and faithful they were,

Then I am pensive – I hastily walk away fill’d with the bitterest




A glimpse through an interstice caught,

Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the

            stove late of a winter night, and I unremark’d seated in a


Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching

            and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand,

A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking

            and oath and smutty jest,

There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little,

            perhaps not a word.



This moment yearning and thoughtful sitting alone,

It seems to me there are other men in other lands yearning

            and thoughtful,

It seems to me I can look over and behold them in Germany,

            Italy, France, Spain,

Or far, far away, in China or Russia or India, talking other


And it seems to me if I could know those men I should become

            attached to them as I do to men in my own lands

O I know we should be brethren and lovers,

O I know, I know I should be happy with them.



Trickle drops! my blue veins leaving!

O drops of me! trickle, slow drops,

Candid from me falling, drip, bleeding drops,

From wounds made to free you whence you were prison’d,

From my face, from my forehead and lips,

From my breast, from within where I was conceal’d, press forth

            red drops, confession drops,

Stain every page, stain every song I sing, every word I say,

            bloody drops,

Let them know your scarlet heat, let them glisten,

Saturate them with yourself all ashamed and wet,

Glow upon all I have written or shall write, bleeding drops,

Let it all be seen in your light, blushing drops.



And now gentlemen,

A word I give to remain in your memories and minds,

As base and finale too for all metaphysics.


(So to the students the old professor,

At the close of his crowded course.)


Having studied the new and antique, the Greek and Germanic


Kant having studied and stated, Fichte and Schelling and Hegel,

Stated the lore of Plato, and Socrates greater than Plato,

And greater than Socrates sought and stated, Christ divine having

            studied long.

I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic systems,

See the philosophies all, Christian churches and tenets see,

Yet underneath Socrates clearly see, and underneath Christ the

            divine I see.

The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of friend

            to friend,

Of the well-married husband and wife, of children and parents,

Of city for city and land for land.



Shakespeare Sonnets: Selection (William Shakespeare)

Opus 125; Composed: Beverly Hills, CA, 1944-1945, 1947, 1963; Unpublished Manuscript; Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, The Library of Congress Music Division, Washington, DC, USA.


1.  Sonnet XVIII.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


2.  Sonnet CVI.

When in the chronicle of wasted time

I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rime
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have exprest
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they look’d but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.


3.  Sonnet CIV.

To me fair friend, you never can be old,

For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion and mine eye may be deceived:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred;
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.


4.  Sonnet XCVII.

How like a winter hath my absence been

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, ‘tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.


5.  Sonnet XCVIII.

From you have I been absent in the spring,

When proud-pied April dress’d in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet not the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermillion of the rose;
They were but sweets, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.


6.  Sonnet LXXIII.

That time of year thou may’st in me behold

When yellow leaves, or few, or none, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


7.  Sonnet LVII.

Being your slave, what should I do but tend

Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require:
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu:
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are, how happy you make those;
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.


8.  Sonnet CIX.

O never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seems my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign’d
All frailties that besiege all kind of blood,
That it could so prepost’rously be stain’d,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.


9.  Sonnet XXXI.

Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts

Which I by lacking have supposed dead,
And there reigns love and all love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things removed that hidden in thee lie!
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give;
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I loved I view in thee,
And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.


10.  Sonnet LIII.

What is your substance, whereof are you made,

That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new:
Speak of the spring and foison of the year;
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear;
And you in every blessed shape we know.
In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.


11.  Sonnet CII.

My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;

I love not less, though less the show appear:
That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish every where.
Our love was new and that but in the spring
When I was wont to greet it with my lays,
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore like her I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.


12.  Sonnet XXXII.

If thou survive my well-contented day

When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bettering of the time,
And though they be outstripp’d by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O, then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
“Had my friend’s Muse grown with his growing age,
A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
To march in ranks of better equipage:
But since he died and poets better prove,
Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love.”


13.  Sonnet CXXVIII.

How oft, when thou, my music, music play’st,

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.


14.  Sonnet XL.

Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;

What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.
Then if for my love thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;
But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest
By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.
Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.


15.  Sonnet LXXI.

No longer mourn for me when I am dead

Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone.


16.  Sonnet XLVII.

Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,

And each doth good turns now unto the other:
When that mine eye is famish’d for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast
And to the painted banquet bids my heart;
Another time mine eye is my heart’s guest
And in his thoughts of love doth share a part:
So, either by thy picture or my love,
Thyself away art resent still with me;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,
And I am still with them and they with thee;
Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
Awakes my heart to heart’s and eye’s delight.


17.  Sonnet XXVII.

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,

The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.


MCT CD - Image 34.jpg

Highlights & Archive