Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
String Quartet; Serenata; Quintet for Strings and Wind. Songs, pieces for piano, etc.

About Alfredo Casella:

Musical Quarterly 6:179April 1920; Musical Times 62:408July 1921; Pro Musica 1:4 October 1925.

Important recordings of music by Alfredo Casella:

COLUMBIA: La Giara.


Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco 1895-

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, another important representative of the group of "Younger Italians," was born in Florence on April 3, 1895. He was an enfant prodige from the very first. After studying piano at the Cherubino Royal Institute of Music at Florence where he revealed enormous talent, he became a pupil of composition of the famous Italian composer, Ildebrando Pizzetti, whose influence upon the boy was inestimable and who, even then, predicted a fruitful career for the young musician. At the age of fifteen Mario composed a piece for piano, Cielo di Settembre in which the influence of his teacher is patently revealed but which clearly proved that the boy was a born composer. Further evidence of his native talent came in 1913 with a piano composition of great maturity, Questo Fu il Carro Della Morte. For a long while, a bit uncertain of himself, Castelnuovo-Tedesco expressed himself only in the shorter and less pretentious forms of music, such as the song form and smaller piano pieces. But such was his talent that even with these small pieces--especially with his settings of Shakespearean songs--he attracted wide attention because of a tasteful technique, delicate sentiment and a fine imagination.

In 1920, Castelnuovo-Tedesco began to experiment in larger musical forms and, at one stroke, convinced critics everywhere of his genuine importance in the world of modern music. His first work in this direction, Fioretti--a setting for voice and orchestra--may have revealed blundering and a lack of sureness. But with succeeding works, espe

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO

cially with such operas as Machiavelli and La Mandragola and with such larger instrumental works as Ritmi and Alt Wien, he emerged once and for all as a consummate musician with a definite message.

In recent years, Castelnuovo-Tedesco's importance has increased immeasurably. His two violin concertos--which Mr. Jascha Heifetz has introduced with such success--have proved to be valuable additions to the meagre literature of violin music. And in his orchestral music, such as the Overture to the Taming of the Shrew, he impresses one deeply with a sensitivity and a feeling for beauty which are the principal characteristics of all his more important music.

"Humanity; the word gives us one of the most eminent characteristics of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's music," writes Guido M. Gatti. "The outlook of Castelnuovo-Tedesco is neither indifferent nor cold, but humanized by the faith of the tone-poet."

"Like Pizzetti and Alfano, Castelnuovo-Tedesco is essentially an exponent of emotionalism," continues Gastone Rossi-Daria, "so much so as sometimes to be classed as a 'Romantic,' and following in the wake of that romanticism which Pizzetti subdued thanks to his indomitable strength of mind, whilst his pupil Castelnuovo-Tedesco entirely yields to it voluptuously, altho he does

____________________
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Cŏs′těl-nōo-ō′Těděs′

-40-

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