Born in Florence in 1895, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was one of the most prolific Italian composers of his generation. Having fled to the USA in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution, his output quickly became dominated by the many film scores he was commissioned to produce for MGM Studios; today, however, Castelnuovo-Tedesco is best remembered for his enormous contribution to the classical guitar’s repertoire.
The inspiration behind much of this Italian composer’s music for the classical guitar came from the Spanish virtuoso Andrés Segovia, who he met at the 1932 Venice International Festival of Music. The two men must have struck up a close bond, for the composer would go on to write over 100 works for the instrument. Chief among them is undoubtedly the Concerto No.1 in D Op.99, but Castelnuovo-Tedesco also wrote some very fine solo repertoire to which this Newton Classics release is dedicated.
Beginning with Variations through the Centuries, which was written not long after the two musicians had met, we move on to two sets of studies devised by the Italian guitarist Chiesa, followed by the musical postcard Tonadilla in which Castelnuovo-Tedesco uses a musical motif to spell out Segovia’s full name. The CD ends with the fiendishly difficult Capriccio Diabolico – a chance for the performer to demonstrate his virtuosic prowess, and the perfect conclusion to an engaging compilation of works that form a worthwhile addition to the classical guitarist’s library.
New booklet note