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Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Solo Piano Works

Castelnuovo-tedesco / Massa / Malzew
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Capriccio Records   Catalog #: 5156   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa
Conductor:  Stefan Malzew
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Piano Concertos: 1 No. 1 in G, Op. 46; No. 2 in F, Op. 92. Fiaba marina. Fiaba silvana. Il naviganti. Alghe. Le danze di Re David. Five Little Waltzes. Onde. Hommage à Paderewski. Two Studies: Charlie; Mickey Mouse Pietro Massa (pn); 1 Stefan Malzew, cond; Read more class="SUPER12">1 New Brandenburg P CAPRICCIO 5156 (2 CDs: 130:52)


Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was born in Florence into a wealthy family. From an early age he was precocious, learning, in addition to Italian; French, German, Spanish, and English. In the mid 1910s he studied composition with the great Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968), who enhanced his understanding of both harmony and counterpoint. Soon thereafter Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) became a huge supporter of his. Throughout his entire career Castelnuovo-Tedesco held firmly to tonality, maintaining a style that was both evocative and popular in its day. He wrote for some of the greatest performing artists of the century including Jascha Heifetz, Andrés Segovia, and Gregor Piatigorsky, becoming known especially for his numerous works for guitar. When he was forced to flee Italy in 1939, he settled, with the help of his friends, among them Arturo Toscanini, in Beverly Hills. Here he inspired or taught a whole new generation of composers; his music was influential on everyone from Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle to John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith.


All of the works on the current recording, save one—the Hommage à Paderewski —were written before the composer left Europe. They are all pleasing to listen to, all idiomatically written for the instrument, and all unashamedly tonally inspired. The two larger works, the piano concertos Nos. 1 and 2, were written at far different times in the composer’s career—the First when he was rising to prominence, the Second when he was preparing to flee his homeland—yet both maintain a similar construction and disposition, the latter of the two, perhaps having a bit more originality, a slightly more elaborate orchestration, and above all else, more of a sense of urgency. The work feels more personal. Both the pianist and the orchestra handle the scores well. The readings are spirited and highly polished, the pianist managing all of the difficulties of this music, from the sprightly and light-hearted scale patterns and arpeggios to the trickier rhythmic idiosyncrasies. The lyrical middle movements contrast well with the weightier (though not much) first movements. Each concerto ends with a dance-like finale. The Neubrandenburger Philharmonie players accompany beautifully under the direction of Stefan Malzew, himself an accomplished clarinetist and composer. The second disc of the set is devoted to some of the solo piano works of Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Amazingly the numerous changes in texture, touch, and overall sonority lend these little works a colorful aura, an almost orchestrated quality; that is surely their greatest asset and biggest challenge in performance. Throughout the recital Massa proves himself a very fine guide to these neglected pieces. One of the highlights of the disc is the somewhat percussive and rhythmic Le danze di Re David , a set of seven dances which are inspired by the composer’s own Jewish heritage; the movements contrast well with each other, yet all fit together through the use of the common D repeated-note motive. Though there are times when I wish that Massa would stress the rhythmic quality over the lyrical ones, such as in the last dance, the Allegro guerrico , in general he characterizes the individual movements well. Equally fascinating is the Passatempi , a set of five small waltzes in various styles. They range the gamut from the quirky second to the fifth, a livelier 20th-century parody of a Viennese waltz.


For those looking for less well-known compositions of the 20th century, intriguing works without a bit of listening discomfort then this music would suit one well. There is much great music here, not least the two fascinating neoclassical concertos. In top quality sound, resonant enough to capture the numerous changes in sonority in the solo literature, and without audience noise in the concertos, which were taped live in the Konzertkirche Neubrandenburg on November 11, 2010, and with top-notch performances all around, there is little to discourage one from acquiring this set. If the early 20th century is your time period, then this music is a must.


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in D major, Op. 46 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Conductor:  Stefan Malzew
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/11/2010 
Venue:  Live  Konzertkirche Neubrandenburg 
Length: 12 Minutes 50 Secs. 
2.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 92 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Conductor:  Stefan Malzew
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Brandenburg Philharmonic
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 11/11/2010 
Venue:  Live  Konzertkirche Neubrandenburg 
Length: 27 Minutes 26 Secs. 
3.
La sirenetta e il pesce turchina, Op. 18 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Florence, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2009 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 9 Minutes 55 Secs. 
4.
Vitalba e Biancospina, Op. 21 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2009 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 10 Secs. 
5.
I navaganti, Op. 13 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/2012 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 28 Secs. 
6.
Alghe, Op. 12 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Florence, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2009 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 6 Minutes 41 Secs. 
7.
Le danze del re David, Op. 37 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Florence, Italy 
Date of Recording: 09/2012 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 15 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8.
Passatempi, Op. 54 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Florence, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2009 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 5 Minutes 58 Secs. 
9.
Onde, studies (2), for piano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1935 
Date of Recording: 09/2012 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 12 Minutes 15 Secs. 
10.
Homage ŕ Paderewski, for piano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Pietro Massa (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 09/2012 
Venue:  Siemens-Villa Berlin 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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