Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was an Italian-born, US-naturalised composer whose greatest legacy to posterity was his guitar music, much of which is already well represented within the deep catalogue of Brilliant Classics, but not these volumes of Appunti: preludes and studies, neo-Baroque and neo-Classical in character, which derive from his work with the musicologist Ruggero Chiesa and were composed with the intention of expanding the repertoire for the instrument both forwards, into his own time, and backwards, to the era when the instrumental forebears to the guitar such as the lute and theorbo were such significant carriers of dance music.
Accordingly, he wrote sets of Danze del ’600 e del ’700, Danze dell’Ottocento and Danze del ’900, but died before the full, intended four-volume scope of these ‘Notes’ (Appunti) could be realised, and the first two volumes had to be published as they stand. This is the only currently available complete recording of the set. The contents range from an antique Galliard to uptempo Rumba and Samba: appealing proof of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s compositional skill across the widest range of style and idiom.
There was a hidden didactic aim behind the Appunti which becomes clearer when the pieces are assembled together, but their individual charms raise their status from that of technical exercises or studies. Nowhere evident here are the composer’s experiments with the avant-garde language of his time, but rather a compendium of the guitar’s poetic and dance-like expressive potential across the ages. The soloist on this new recording is a pupil of Chiesa who, though not yet 40, has made an international career for himself as a concert guitarist, with several well-received recordings to his name.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco fled anti-semitism before the 2nd World War and settled in Hollywood where he successfully composed film scores for more than 200 movies!
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, a prolific composer, is best known for his numerous works for the guitar. His Op. 210, Appunti, is a didactic work for students, in increasing level of difficulty, divided in three books, each focusing on a particular aspect of performance; the intervals, from secunde to decime, the various (dance) rhythms, figurations and a collection of dances from the 17th to the 20th century. These delightful works often surpass their didactic aim, and become exquisite miniatures, full of invention and wit.
Played with enthousiasm and imagination by Italian guitarist Enea Leone who already recorded successfully the studies by Fernando Sor for Brilliant Classics (BC94791).