MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Complete Organ Works [TrackList follows] – Livia Mazzanti – Aeolus multichannel SACD AE-10541, 64:27 [Distr. by Albany] ****:
Italian Jewish composer Castelnuovo-Tedesco is known mainly for his guitar and piano music. This album continues the label’s practice of bringing world premieres to listeners and collectors with this compendium of the composer’s works for pipe organ. It all began after Castelnuovo-Tedesco had emigrated to the U.S. to escape the Mussolini dictatorship. A Christmas card from his friend E. Power Biggs stimulated the composer to create his first work for organ, a fanfare based on the organist’s name. He later went on to write similar works based on the names of two other organists, Frederick Tulan, and two pieces for Albert Schweitzer—all four are on this disc. (The Biggs piece was expanded into the Air and Fugue on this SACD.)
The extensive booklet with the album has information on each of the selections and other bio information on the composer. It also has a fascinating 1958 photo from Hollywood showing the composer together with Heitor Villa-Lobos and Audrey Hepburn. So Castelnuovo-Tedesco was another of those several leading European composers who got out of Europe during the 30s to safety in the shockingly different environment of Southern California.
Organist Livia Mazzanti did all the research in getting together, preparing and performing these works. She used an innovative registration for each of the pieces in a desire to bring them back from obscurity to public attention. The organ used for the recording is the Kleuker & Steinmeyer Organ of the Zurich Town Hall. The 5.0-channel surround is just as effective for pipe organ works as for full symphony orchestra.
Introduction; Air; Fugue; Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve (5 movts.); Prelude on a 12-tone Row; Fanfare on a 12-tone Row; Prelude on the name of Frederick Tulan; Choral Prelude & Fugue on the name of Albert Schweitzer; Prayers My Grandfather Wrote (6 movts.)
A posthumous release of late career Bill Evans in SACD format adds to the formidable legacy.