Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2015 by Fred Flaxman


Program 250
"More from Mario"

MUSIC
: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: excerpt from opening of Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 46, performed by Alessandro Marangoni with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia [Naxos 8.572823 Track 1]  [under the following]

This is the happiest opening to a piano concerto that I’ve ever heard. It is from the Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 46, by the Italian-born, 20th Century composer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Stay tuned and I’ll play the entire delightful concerto for you later in this hour.

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. The next hour will feature “More by Mario,” the second of four one-hour programs that I’m devoting to this gifted, tuneful, highly-accessible, but unjustly neglected composer.

MUSIC: Fades out

As I mentioned in the first program of music by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, he was born in Florence, Italy, in 1895. He was from a prominent banking family that had lived in the city since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.

Like many European composers who fled fascism, Castelnuovo-Tedesco ended up in Hollywood, where, with the help of violinist Jascha Heifetz, he got a contract as a film composer. Over the next fifteen years, he worked on scores for some 200 films.

Nevertheless, unlike several of his fellow European refugees to Hollywood, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco is not known today primarily for his film scores, but rather for his guitar music and symphonic works.

The same Naxos recording that begins with Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 concludes with the very first performance and recording of his Four Dances from “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Opus 167, written in 1953.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco sent this piece in 1956 to Boosey & Hawkes for publication, but after a series of unsuccessful negotiations, they were returned to the composer in 1959. In that same year Castelnuovo-Tedesco sent the work to Ricordi in New York, but the company folded shortly afterwards and the manuscript was once again returned to the composer.

Alessandro Marangoni, the pianist in the recording of the concerto we’ll hear after the Four Dances from “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” loaned the unpublished manuscript of the dances from Lisbeth Castelnuovo-Tedesco and made a performing edition of the score and the orchestral parts.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco was fascinated by the works of William Shakespeare and wrote overtures for 11 Shakespeare plays. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the King of Navarre and three lords sign a declaration vowing to study for three years while renouncing the company of women.

But the Princess of France and three of her ladies arrive on a diplomatic mission, causing the declaration to run into trouble, as you might imagine. The men from Navarre try to outdo each other in a scene where they read aloud their ridiculous love poems. The ladies then fool the men in a scene which uses Russian disguises.

A comic sub-plot concerns a Spaniard, his page, a country clown, and a pregnant dairy-maid, along with a parish priest and a pedantic schoolmaster. Marcade, a French lord, arrives with news for the Princess that her father has died. The ladies then compel the men to perform a year’s penance before they will marry them.

The four dances in this piece are: 1. Sarabande for the King of Navarre; 2. Gavotte for the Princess of France; 3. Spanish Dance for Don Adriano de Armado; and 4. Russian Dance - Masque.

The British conductor, Andrew Mogrelia, leads the Malmö Symphony Orchestra in this recording.

MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Four Dances from “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Opus 167, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia. [Naxos 8.572823, Tracks 7-10]  [16:16]

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Four Dances from “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Opus 167, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia.

You are listening to “More from Mario” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[one-minute optional break not included in timing of program]

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor was written in a spirit of optimism in 1927 when the composer was 32 years old. It opens with one of the happiest melodies of any piano concerto I’ve ever heard. The piece is both lyrical and virtuosic — a true compact discovery for me as I hope it will be for you.

In this Naxos recording, the Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni is accompanied by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra of Sweden under the baton of the British conductor Andrew Mogrelia.

MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, performed by Alessandro Marangoni with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia. [Naxos 8.572823, Tracks 1-3]  [30:00]

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.  Alessandro Marangoni was accompanied by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia.

We have just enough time left in this hour devoted to the music of Castelnuovo-Tedesco to hear the first movement of his seven-movement Romancero Gitano for Choir and Guitar. It is called Baladilla de los tres rios / Ballad of the Three Rivers, and the music is to poems by Garcia Lorca. Arturo Tallini is the guitarist on this Agorá Musica compact disc recording. The choir is conducted by Alberto Galletti.

MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Baladilla de los tres rios from Romancero Gitano per Coro e Chitarra, performed by guitarist Arturo Tallini [Agorá Musica AG204, Track 14]  [3:50]

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Baladilla de los tres rios from Romancero Gitano for Chorus and Guitar, performed by guitarist Arturo Tallini.

And that concludes “More by Mario” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. If you missed part of the program or would like to hear it again, you can stream it on demand at compactdiscoveries.com. This is program number 250. You’ll also find program number 249 there, which featured Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s very tuneful guitar concerto and melodious violin concerto. This is your guide to Compact Discoveries, Fred Flaxman. Thank you for listening.

ANNOUNCER (Tana Flaxman): Production of Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida... and by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz…  Art and Eva Stevens... Shelley and Gilbert Harrison… the CD companies that supply the recordings used…  and ArkivMusic.com  the online store for classical music CDs, DVDs, downloads, and over 10,000 on-demand reissued titles.
 
Program Ends at 58:00