Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Concertos Nos. 1/ 2 F-B (Naxos: 8.572823) (Alessandro Marangoni/ Malmo Symphony Orchestra/ Andrew Mogrelia) (Naxos: 8.572823)
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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's two Piano Concertos form a contrasting pair. Concerto No. 1, written in 1927, is a vivid and witty example of his romantic spirit, exquisite melodies and rich yet transparent orchestration. Concerto No. 2, composed a decade later, is a darker, more dramatic and virtuosic work. The deeply-felt and dreamlike slow movement and passionate finale are tinged with bleak moments of somber agitation, suggestive of unfolding tragic events with the imminent introduction of the Fascist Racial Laws that led Castelnuovo-Tedesco to seek exile in the USA in 1939. The Four Dances from 'Love's Labour's Lost', part of the composer's recurring fascination for the art of Shakespeare, are atmospheric, richly characterised and hugely enjoyable. This is their first performance and recording.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco is a hugely approachable composer whose lyrical gifts are impressively married to a fine and vivid colourful sense of orchestration. The two concertos make perfect disc mates but they are hardly ever - if ever -programmed together maybe because the original score of No 2 was lost. They are perfect twentieth century concertos.