Pianist and educator David Witten's career has included numerous concert tours in Europe, Israel, Russia, China, and South America. He is the editor of Nineteenth-Century Piano Music: Essays in Performance and Analysis, which includes his landmark analytical study of the Chopin Ballades. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, SUNY Buffalo and Boston University, he is on the faculty of Montclair State University. Witten has chosen four works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who was born in Florence, but whose ancestry traces directly back to a Sephardic Jewish family that escaped the Spanish Inquisition. Castelnuovo-Tedesco's musical style is filled with colorful harmonies and a penchant for modal melodies. Coming to the United States in theRead more mid-1930s, he found work at MGM and other studios, ultimately composing soundtracks for more than 200 films. This recording features both his early and late piano works -- two concert suites from 1924 and works from his later years in California.
David Witten illuminates the “eclectic” and stylistic variety of these pieces. David Witten stands out in this recording as a nimble soloist, who lends the necessary clarity and elegance to Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music. Witten doesn’t shy away from flexibility, by which he repeatedly tunes in to specific moods. He brings brilliant character to these individual miniatures, but never through exaggeration. Thickness of tone or over-emphasis of mood would be deadly to these works, which come alive with finesse and subtlety. Refined and elegant performances.