Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Well Tempered Guitars. Fuga Elegiaca
SOLARIA SOL201201 (2 CDs: 94:17)
Despite his Spanish-sounding name, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968) was an Italian composer. His ancestors had lived in Spain, but were forced to leave when the Jews were expelled in 1492. In 1938, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s works were banned by the Fascist Italian government and the next year he left for the United States. Arturo Toscanini sponsored him as an immigrant and Jascha Heifetz helped him get a
contract from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio. Thus began his 15-year career as a film composer. After Andrés Segovia introduced Castelnuovo-Tedesco to duo guitarists Ida Presti and Alexander Lagoya, the composer was inspired to write
The Well Tempered Guitars
with them in mind in 1962. After Presti died, he wrote the
in her memory. That was also the last piece he wrote before his own death.
Quite a few composers have written works that cover all the major and minor keys, but Johann Sebastian Bach’s
Well Tempered Clavier
is the best known. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, however, was the one composer who had the interest and ability to write this type of complex music for two guitars. Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have been playing together for a decade and have a great sense of rapport, which is most evident when they play this type of closely harmonized music. They play most gracefully, with warm tone and masterly phrasing. They are not the least bit fazed by playing in keys that are not often used in writing for guitar. There are some comparable discs available such as the Brasil Guitar Duo on Naxos; some of their preludes and fugues tend to be a bit on the slow side. Soloduo has an excellent two-disc package, good notes, and a brighter sound. Soloduo has taken on a most ambitious project and proved easily up to its demands. The sound, too, meets optimum standards.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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