Lorenzo Micheli, Guitar
Escarramán, Op.177 (after Cervantes)
La guarda cuydadosa, Op.177, No.6
Variations plaisantes sur un petit air populaire, Op.95
Aranci in fiore, Op.87a
Variations à travers les siècles, Op.71
Tre preludi mediterranei, Op.176
Capriccio Op.195, No.18 "El sueño de la razon produce monstrous" (from
24 Caprichos de Goya, Op.195)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's guitar opuses contain a number of accomplished
works "Sonata in D major" Op.77 (Omaggio a Boccherini), "Capriccio Diabolico"
Op.85 (Omaggio a Paganini) not to mention a fine Guitar Concerto, plus the
Tarantella included here.
Many of the other pieces in his guitar output are largely overlooked, perhaps
because they are influenced by his writing for the Hollywood film industry,
that is they tend to be a little incidental in nature, (although it was at
about this time that Jascha Heifitz commissioned Castelnuovo-Tedesco to write
one of his violin concertos). Added to this, Castelnuovo-Tedesco apparently
had no practical working knowledge of the guitar, and as a consequence it
does not always feel natural to players of the instrument.
On first listening I found much of the music on this disc pleasant enough,
but I felt it was inclined to wash over me rather than grab the attention.
However, after subsequent airings the senses became more attuned to the
individual character of the pieces.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco was not above drawing on sources of literature, as in
his "Escarramán" using the Jácaras of Francisco Gómez
de Quevedo, or quoting from other composers. "Variations plaisantes sur un
petit air populaire" uses the opening theme from Enrique Granados' "Spanish
Dance No.6" (although this may have its origins in traditional Spanish folk
Certainly the Tarrantella stands out, not so much because it is better known
but because of its undeniable quality (I was unfamiliar with all the other
works on this disc).
The strength of Castelnuovo-Tedesco comes to the fore when a single work,
such as the "Sonata in D major" or a small group of related pieces, are selected
and placed within a recital programme with other composers. In this way he
really does shine.
As for guitarist Lorenzo Micheli, he certainly has a feeling for this music
and is sensitive to its demands. As always the recorded sound achieved by
Naxos is excellent.
For anyone interested in the guitar music of Castelnuovo-Tedesco and wishing
to explore his lesser-known works this is a bargain.