Castelnuovo-tedesco: Complete Italian Solo Guitar

Album cover art for upc 5028421966625
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI96662
Format: COMPACT DISC

Rugolo, Antonio

The guitar became increasingly important to Castelnuovo-Tedesco through the course of his long career. ‘My art tends progressively to simplify itself,’ he wrote, ‘and the guitar has become one of my favorite means of expression because it has led me towards the essential.’ He was first drawn to the instrument after meeting Andres Segovia in Venice in 1932. The Variations á travers les siècles Op.71 followed almost immediately. Over the course of the next seven years, Castelnuovo-Tedesco produced a string of equally successful pieces for the instrument. Most substantial is the four movement Guitar Sonata subtitled as a ‘Homage to Boccherini’: an elegant essay in neoclassicism which evokes the courtly elegance of Boccherini’s Guitar Quintets while sounding entirely true to Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s own language. There followed a Capriccio Diabolico, which lives up to its title as a homage to Paganini with fiendish figuration which delighted Segovia. Sharing the Capriccio’s Opus number of 87 is a contrastingly restrained character-study of Sicilian flavor, ‘Oranges in Bloom’. The last guitar piece written by Castelnuovo-Tedesco before leaving Europe for good was the Variations plaisantes sur un petit air populaire Op.95, which takes its theme from a French folk melody after a Swiss critic had taken aim at the Sonata as merely a display piece for Segovia. Castelnuovo-Tedesco proved him wrong with another demonstration of his deep feeling for the guitar as an instrument of both display and reflection, ending with an elaborate fugue. This album is the latest in a series of new recordings documenting the output of Castenuovo-Tedesco. Rather than playing from the standard editions of these pieces by Segovia, Antonio Rugolo has gone back to the composer’s manuscripts as well as consulting newer editions by Angelo Gilardino, resulting in performances which are truer to the composer’s vision than ever before.

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