Eclectic Piano Music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
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A welcome addition to recordings of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's music.

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 the 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.
Contents:
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, composer
Le Stagioni, Op. 33
David Witten (piano)

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, composer
Sonatina Zoologica, Op. 187
David Witten (piano)

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, composer
Greeting Cards, Op. 170
David Witten (piano)

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, composer
Piedigrotta 1924: Rapsodia Napoletana, Op. 32
David Witten (piano)

Review:
"…American pianist and Montclair State University (New Jersey) Professor David Witten plays early as well as late works of Castelnuovo Tedesco on this CD. He 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 of a collection of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's piano works by David Witten." (Pizzicato)

"Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was a prolific composer, perhaps best remembered for his works for guitar…His piano compositions are less known, though they are numerous.…David Witten plays everything very well…I found the three Greeting Cards most interesting. Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed a large number of those (51 in all, 17 for the piano)…They are substantial (the three pieces here last 17 minutes together) and consist of elaborations of a theme derived from the individual's name.…" (American Record Guide)