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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Quintets 1 & 2 / Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi, piano; Aron Quartett

Album Summary

>Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario : Quintet for 2 violins, viola, cello & piano no 1, Op. 69
>Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario : Piano Quintet no 2 ("Ricordi della compagnia Toscana")
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Homages to the Tuscan Countryside. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence and studied piano and composition at the local Luigi Cherubini Conservatory prior to continuing his training in Bologna. Ildebrando Pizzetti and Alfredo Casella were his most important teachers. Soon a mature musician in his own right, Castelnuovo-Tedesco numbered among the most sought-after representatives of what was then Italy's musica nuova even while still a student. He received his diploma in composition from the Liceo Musicale di Bologna in 1918 and would write two piano quintets during the course of his career. The first was dedicated to the memory of the Italian pianist Ernesto Consolo and published without an opus number in 1932. With its baroque eclecticisms the finale recalls the characteristics of the 'seventh art,' that is, film, with its pathos and capacity for creating scenic spaces. This is hardly surprising inasmuch as Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed film music and defined this genre along with his contemporaries Miklós Rósza and Bernard Hermann. The second quintet, composed in Beverly Hills in 1951 and counted as his op. 155, is entitled Memories of the Tuscan Countryside. The work as a whole is of cheerful, contemplative serenity and might be understood as a quiet meditation on nostalgic yearning for his native Italy even though in this case there is nary a trace of a pathetic tone or melodramatic and sentimental excesses in his music.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2016
[The Quintets are] big-hearted, expansive works, written in an idiom that Bax would have called brazenly romantic... the Aron Quartet with a commitment and sympathy that compensate for occasional roughness, and pianist Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi unleashes great cascades of tone at Castelnuovo-Tedesco's more grandiloquent climaxes.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
If you already have that (very fine recording), you might still want this new CPO release, which pairs both of Castelnuovo- Tedesco's piano quintets, the second from 1951. Both are full-scale, four-movement pieces about a half-hour long, both beautifully (and lavishly) scored for the piano and strings, both packed with dandy tunes, but aglow with Mediterranean warmth, often rhapsodic or amorous, sometimes mournful or nostalgic. Faintly exotic touches of "local color" tint some of the melodic turns and harmonic colorings, emphasizing Castelnuovo-Tedesco's characteristic late-romantic fascination with Mid-Eastern and Far-Eastern legends. Pianist Massimo Bianchi and the Aron Quartet play these big, enraptured, richly melodic, and consistently gorgeous quintets with unstinting engagement and lustrous polish that come through vividly in CPO's full-throated recording. To my enthusiastic recommendation of these works I'd add one more contemporaneous and worthwhile chamber work in a similar idiom that will also deeply reward those who seek it out: the impassioned and exhilarating 1931 Piano Quintet by Vittorio Giannini on MSR 1394 (Sept/Oct 2012).

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Yamaha Konzertsaal Wien (02/14/2014-02/16/2014).



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Works Details

>Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario : Quintet for 2 violins, viola, cello & piano no 1, Op. 69
  • Performer: Massimo Bianchi (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Aron Quartett
  • Notes: Yamaha Konzertsaal Wien (02/14/2014-02/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1931-1932

>Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario : Piano Quintet no 2 ("Ricordi della compagnia Toscana")
  • Performer: Massimo Bianchi (Piano)
  • Notes: Yamaha Konzertsaal Wien (02/14/2014-02/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 35 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1951