Showcasing highlights from recent gifts & donations to the ICAMus Collections: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Exotica: And Other Works for Solo Piano and Violin & Piano. Angelo Arciglione, piano; Eleonora Turtur, violin. A CD of rare and unpublished works, among which, Stars: Four Sketches, musical portraits of Hollywood movie stars composed in 1940. Thankfully received from the performer, pianist Angelo Arciglione. Highly recommended & on display at The ICAMus Studio.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968). Exotica: And Other Works for Solo Piano and Violin & Piano. Angelo Arciglione, piano; Elenora Turtur, violin. Digressione Music, DCTT83, 2018. CD & Booklet, with inscription to ICAMus.
“Exotica” on display at the ICAMus Studio in Ann Arbor, MI, USA, as part of the Center’s exhibited 2017-2018 memorabilia.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco's manuscript of Stars: Four Sketches, Opus 104 for piano, composed in 1940, is currently (October 2018) being published by Curci. The four sections are musical portraits of Hollywood movie stars, and express the process of adjustment of this composer to his new country, along with his sincere interest and fascination with a typically American subject matter.
Aloma Bardi has studied this unpublished piece in a paper presented at the June 13, 2018 conference at Sapienza Università di Roma, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. L'ignoto iconoclasta (Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Unknown Iconoclast) and is currently (October 2018) being published in a volume of conference proceedings, edited by Gianluca Bocchino and Alessandro Avallone, and published by LIM.
Aloma Bardi's book chapter explores rare, mostly unpublished works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco on American themes and subject matter, composed during his first years in the United States.
The event Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. L'ignoto iconoclasta (Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Unknown Iconoclast)--three days of conference, concerts and special events, Rome, June 12-14, 2018--was an international collaboration of ICAMus with Sapienza Università di Roma, Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.
Pianist Angelo Arciglione and violinist Eleonora Turtur are specialists of rare and unpublished repertoire. They live in Florence and have been performing as a duo since 2012. Photo © Lucia Perrucci.
WE INVITE YOU TO VISIT THE WEBSITE OF PIANIST ANGELO ARCIGLIONE.
A Note by Aloma Bardi.
Florence-Born Jewish composer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) emigrated to the United States in 1939 as a consequence of the enforcement of Racial Laws in Italy during the fascism. Already a prominent concert pianist and composer in Europe before emigrating, he launched a second career in the US as a highly respected, influent film composer at Hollywood.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence in 1895, into a prominent Jewish family. In his city he began studying at the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory in 1909, graduating in piano in 1914; in 1918 he graduated in composition from the Liceo Musicale in Bologna. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s earliest works date from his childhood, and his earliest published piece dates from 1910. A highly educated musician, he launched his European career in Italy as a pianist and composer. His early works were regularly published and performed by prestigious soloists, conductors, orchestras and institutions, such as Jascha Heifetz, Arturo Toscanini, Vittorio Gui, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In the 1920s and 1930s he frequently appeared as a pianist in performance of his own music and of pieces by other composers, as a soloist, with orchestras, in chamber music formations with other instrumentalists and with singers, playing a wide-ranging international repertoire.
The escalation of fascism in Italy and the alliance with Nazi Germany soon created dangerous life conditions for the composer and his family, his life Clara and their two sons Pietro and Lorenzo. In 1938, as a consequence of the enforcement of the racial laws, his music was banned. With the help of Heifetz and Toscanini, CastelnuovoTedesco and his family left Italy for the United States in the summer of 1939. After spending a year in Larchmont, NY, they settled in Beverly Hills, CA, where Castelnuovo-Tedesco started a new career, employed as composer of film scores at the Music Department of the MGM Studios in Hollywood. In the US, for many years he worked on soundtracks for about 200 motion pictures, and gave a remarkable contribution to the development of film music, while continuing to produce a vast output of classical music. He died in Beverly Hills in 1968.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed for numerous genres, and vocal and instrumental ensembles: operas, oratorios, concertos for solo instrument and orchestra, chamber music, art songs. Among his operas: The Merchant of Venice (from Shakespeare, 1956), Saul (after Vittorio Alfieri, 1958-1960). He wrote Oratorios inspired by Biblical texts (e.g., The Book of Ruth, 1949), Orchestral Ouvertures to Shakespeare plays (e.g., A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1940).
Castelnuovo-Tedesco was particularly sensitive to languages and literature, to the intonation and expression of poetry. He wrote many text-oriented art songs, a genre particularly dear to him; he set to music the greatest Italian poets (Dante, Petrarca, Leopardi) as well as his contemporaries (such as Palazzeschi) and popular, vernacular texts. Among his settings of English literature, the Shakespeare Songs (1921-1925) and Shakespeare Sonnets (1944-1947).
He worked closely with performers, such as guitarist Andrés Segovia, who requested pieces that are among this composer’s best known and most frequently performed, and have enlarged the guitar repertoire.
A cultivated writer, he also published articles on his experience and challenges as a composer. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s autobiography, Una vita di musica (A Life with Music) written in the 1950s, was published in Italy in recent years (Cadmo, 2005). It is an affectionate, detailed narrative of a composer’s life on the background of cultural and social events in the first half of the 20th century on both sides of the Ocean, and expresses the author’s love for both his native and adoptive countries, whose combination was to become the synthesis of his own life and art.
The Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Papers at the Library of Congress Music Division in Washington, DC are a large collection of his published and unpublished music, correspondence, photographs, and documents; the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Papers are open to research.
Aloma Bardi and ICAMus are proud to have been among the pioneers who have championed the music of this important, international composer, whose works are currently being performed, published and studied worldwide.
Please search the ICAMus Website for more original Castelnuovo-Tedesco content.