MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: excerpt from opening of the third movement of Guitar Concerto No. 2, performed by Kazuhito Yamashita with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin [RCA Victor Red Seal BMG Classics 60355-2-RC, Track 6] [under the following]
Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. The next hour will be devoted to a “Castelnuovo-Tedesco Encore” — more beautiful music by this Italian-born tunesmith. This is the fourth of four one-hour programs featuring the music of this gifted, highly-accessible, but unjustly neglected composer.
MUSIC: Fades out
In this hour we’ll hear Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Concerto No. 2, Opus 160; his Sonatina for Flute and Guitar, Opus 205; and the “Romanza con variazioni” movement from his Piano Trio No. 2. I think you’ll find this sampling of his chamber music in the second part of the hour just as melodious and enjoyable as his orchestral works.
I’m not going to repeat here what I’ve said about Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in the first three programs, so if you missed those programs, you can go to the Compact Discoveries website — www.compactdiscoveries.com — and stream them on demand anytime you like. They are programs numbered 249, 250, and 251.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s first guitar concerto was premiered by Andrés Segovia, to whom it was dedicated, in 1939. His longer and more ambitious second guitar concerto followed in 1953.
The prize-winning guitarist in this recording is Nagasaki-born Kazuhito Yamashita. He is playing with the London Philharmonic under the American conductor Leonard Slatkin in this RCA Victor Red Seal compact disc from 1990. This CD also features the Guitar Concerto No. 1 and the Concerto for Two Guitars. I presented both of those concertos in previous programs. I’ll let you judge whether I’ve saved the best for last.
MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Guitar Concerto No. 2, Op. 160, performed by Kazuhito Yamashita with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin [RCA Victor Red Seal BMG Classics 60355-2-RC, Tracks 4, 5, and 6] [28:53]
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Concerto No. 2, in C, Opus 160, performed by Kazuhito Yamashita with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
You are listening to “A Castelnuovo-Tedesco Encore” 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 was an unusual composer in many respects. Although he wrote piano and violin concertos, as well as works for many other instruments, and some 200 film scores, he is best known for his music for the guitar. Not only did he write four pieces for guitar and orchestra — including three concertos and a serenade — he also wrote 24 preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys for two guitars. And he wrote two other pieces for two guitars, not including the Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra. And he wrote a Guitar Quintet, a Fantasia for Guitar and Piano, an Aria for Oboe, Cello and Guitar; and at least 18 other pieces for guitar, including the beautiful Sonatina for Flute and Guitar, Opus 205, which I want to play for you next.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote all these pieces for guitar — but he was not Spanish, unlike all the other major composers for the guitar. His name is Spanish, dating from before his ancestors were expelled from Spain in 1492 because they were Jewish. And he fled to the United States from his native Italy in 1939 and became an American, because of the antisemitic laws which came into being under the fascist regime at the time in that country. But he was born and grew up in Italy and his musical education was in Italy, with Italian composers and music teachers.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Italian upbringing formed his musical output so securely that there is nothing American-sounding about the concert or chamber works he wrote after moving to the U.S. His Sonatina for Flute and Guitar, for example, was written in 1965, but you would never guess that it was written by an American citizen. It shows us again the Italian lightness of touch which places him in direct contrast to the tortured work of the majority of his contemporary composers. The second movement of this piece is my personal favorite. It has a stunningly beautiful melody and is marked “tempo di siciliana.” Please listen for it.
In this Agorá Musica Italian compact disc, Arturo Tallini is the guitarist; Carlo Morena, the flutist.
MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sonatina for Flute and Guitar performed by guitarist Arturo Tallini with flutist Carlo Morena. [Agorá Musica AG 204, Tracks 11-13] [12:17]
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonatina for Flute and Guitar. Arturo Tallini was the guitarist; Carlo Morena, the flutist.
We have time for an excerpt from one more Castelnuovo-Tedesco chamber work — this time one without the presence of a single guitar: his Piano Trio No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 70. It is the second movement, and is marked “Romanza con variazioni.”
Both Castelnuovo-Tedesco trios are dedicated to the Trio Italiano, which was founded by the grandfather of the cellist in the recording we are about to hear: Arturo Bonucci. The pianist is Bruno Mezzena; the violinist is Franco Mezzena, and — not surprisingly — the group is called the Trio Mezzena-Bonucci. This is from a 1996 Dynamic compact disc recording.
MUSIC: Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Trio No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 70 performed by the Trio Mezzena-Bonucci. [Dynamic CDS 136, Track 6] [8:41]
The second movement of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s: Piano Trio No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 70, performed by the Trio Mezzena-Bonucci.
And that concludes our “Castelnuovo-Tedesco Encore” hour on 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 252. You’ll also find programs numbered 249, 250, and 251 there, which featured other very enjoyable works by this same composer. 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