75. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco [365 Composers for 2013]


16th March – Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco


Castelnuovo-Tedesco (April 3rd 1895 – March 16th 1968) is our composer for 16th March, to mark the day of his death
Nationality: Italian
Lifespan: 72 years
Genre: 20th century
Education: Florence Conservatory
Fame Ranking: 5

Castelnuovo-Tedesco came from a banking family in Florence. He eschewed his family’s profession and took himself off to the Florence Conservatoire, where he gained diplomas in both piano and composition. He wrote many different types of music, but he is best remembered for his guitar works, although he was not a guitar virtuoso himself.

In 1932 Castelnuovo-Tedesco met a Spanish guitarist by the name of Andres Segovia. Castelnuovo-Tedesco then composed his first guitar concerto, inspired by Segovia’s playing. He went on to write nearly a hundred guitar works, many of which were commissioned by Segovia, who was a big fan of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s style.

When the Second World War was imminent, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who was Jewish, found himself increasingly unpopular in Italy, which was a Nazi sympathizer. His music was banned, already scheduled performances were cancelled, as were radio broadcasts. Sensing danger in the air, Castelnuovo-Tedesco left Italy for the United States, where he remained for the rest of his life. He found work in Hollywood, and was employed by MGM Studios as a film composer. He had a wonderfully successful Hollywood career, scoring soundtracks for over 250 films. He had considerable influence on other young Hollywood composers, such as Henry Mancini and Andre Previn, and mentored many others who went on to have successful careers. “Star Wars” composer John Williams was a student of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s. He died in Beverly Hills, California.

Here is a “Tarantella” (a kind of folk dance) by Castelnuovo-Tedesco:

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Listen to more works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco  – click the box!




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