Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence on 3 April 1895. He was introduced to playing piano by his mother, and wrote his first pieces when he was nine. He studied piano with Edgardo Del Valle de Paz and then composition with Ildebrando Pizzetti.
He came to the attention of Alfredo Casella, who ensured that Castelnuovo-Tedesco's works were heard, by playing them and getting them included in the repertoire of the Societa Nazionale di Musica.
His music was inspired by literature, and by his Jewish heritage. His opera La Mandragola was first performed in 1926.
Another important contact was the guitarist Andrés Segovia, who he met in 1932. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was inspired to write nearly a hundred works for guitar, including his well-known Guitar Concerto No 1 of 1939.
He remained in the USA but kept up his ties with Italy, visiting frequently. He won the 1958 Concorso Campari for his opera The Merchant of Venice, which was first performed in 1961 at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco died in Beverly Hills, California on 16 March 1968. aged seventy-two.
CD Spotlight. A Swiss Household Name - Music for guitar by Hans Haug and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... the enchanting playing of Marisa Minder is memorable throughout.'
CD Spotlight. Full of Colours and Flavour - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to music from Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet. '... an original program and excellent rendering make very pleasant listening.'
Ensemble. A Brand New 'Carmen' Ballet - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from the opening night at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Somewhat Delayed Reviews - The Beauty of Italy Captured in Sound - Arabella Teniswood-Harvey plays piano music from Italy, impressing Richard Meszto
CD Spotlight. Beautifully Played - Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Cello Concerto, heard by Alice McVeigh. 'Brinton maintains a clear, sonorous and resonant sound even in the highest register, though he could perhaps have been willing to take a few more risks.'
Ensemble. Civil Engagement - Giuseppe Pennisi discusses operas representing intrigues which couldn't be discussed in public
Ensemble. Me and my Aunts - A Shakespeare celebration, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Wit and Effervescence - Music in the Time of Goya, by Derek Murray
CD Spotlight. Musical Rebellion - Composers displaced by the Third Reich, heard by Howard Smith. '... piano music of singular merit.'
CD Spotlight. Breezy Charm - Piano concertos by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, heard by Bill Newman. '... performances are excellent ...'
Ensemble. To the Glory of God - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Sagra Musicale Umbra, celebrating old and new continents
CD Spotlight. Musical Finesse - Songs by Gregg Kallor, recommended by Howard Smith. 'Go to the top of the class.'
Ensemble. A Sparkling Concert - Sabbath music from the Zemel Choir, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Something for Everyone - An evening with the Zemel Choir, reviewed by Malcolm Miller