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Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cello Concerto Revival — by Brinton Averil Smith

June 8, 2018 marked the Naxos release of a live recording of the first professional performance of Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 'lost' cello concerto in over 80 years. Castelnuovo-Tedesco's career in his native Italy was cut short by Mussolini's rise, and he spent the latter half of his life in Hollywood, where he scored nearly 200 films, while continuing to compose classical works and teaching students including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, André Previn, Jerry Goldsmith, and John Williams (André Previn tells the story of Mario forcing him to orchestrate Mozart's 40th symphony from memory, and then comparing his orchestration to the economy of Mozart's). Gregor Piatigorsky and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, August 1935 (source unknown) Mario relates that Piatigorsky asked “Castelnuovo, a great many cellists play your works as well [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 4) — by Tully Potter

Blog photos courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit it from the beginning in Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    THE EMIGRATION Early in 1922 the Salmonds left England for New York with their two children: Lillian had borrowed money to help pay for their passage and their living expenses while Felix established himself. On 29 March he made a successful recital début at the Aeolian Hall with Frank Bibb at the piano; but it soon became apparent that he would not earn much more as a soloist than he had in England, and that he would have to take a teaching post in order to make ends meet. He [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 3) — by Tully Potter

Original image provided by the Salmond Family.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    The next development in the saga was that Fred Gaisberg of HMV wanted to record the Concerto—he had obviously not been put off by the première. As had happened with the Violin Concerto, just four 12-inch 78rpm sides would be available, but the more compact Cello Concerto would not need to be cut quite so drastically—the Scherzo would require only a small excision and the Adagio would be accommodated complete on one side. Sadly Salmond was under contract to Vocalion, so could not be considered. Guilhermina Suggia was approached but wanted too high a fee. The [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 2) — by Tully Potter

Blog photo courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit Part 1 here. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    The fiasco that never was Just how much of a disaster was the premiere? Let us review some of the salient points, starting with the soloist. All those who knew him were agreed that Felix Salmond had a phenomenal memory, so there is every probability that he knew the cello part intimately by the time he arrived at Queen’s Hall. As the son of a singer, he had early imbibed the virtues of a singing line and good breath control. As a virtuoso he was no Feuermann or Piatigorsky but the few discs which document him in fast-moving music [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 1) — by Tully Potter

Blog photos courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.   Tully Potter tries to lay a myth to rest. Sometimes a myth becomes so firmly entrenched in the public consciousness that the true facts are completely obscured. So it has been with that archetypal English cellist Felix Salmond, whose career is always woefully misrepresented. In his adopted country, the United States, he is remembered for teaching at Juilliard and Curtis and nurturing most of the prominent 1930s and post-war American cellists. In Britain he is indelibly linked with the premiere of Elgar’s E minor Concerto, an event now encrusted with fables. Felix Adrian Norman Salmond was born in London on 19 November 1888, to musical parents: his father Norman was a [...]

By |2018-12-19T18:05:01+00:00February 5th, 2018|Categories: Interpersonal Relationships, Performance, Repertoire|Tags: , , , , |

Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Forgotten Masterpiece — by Brinton Averil Smith

With over 200 film scores to his name, it's more likely that you've heard Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's music than his name. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence in 1895 into a family that had been in Italy for generations, since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. His career as a composer began with conservatory study in Italy, and by the 1920s he was beginning to garner attention in greater Europe. In 1932 Mario began a lifelong friendship with the guitarist Andres Segovia, who inspired perhaps his most famous work, the Guitar Concerto No.1, and became an important champion of his music. It is largely due to Segovia's influence that Mario wrote over 100 works for the guitar, which today form an important and frequently heard part of that instrument's repertoire. [...]

The Britten Cello Suites (Part 5): An Interview with Steven Isserlis — by Aron Zelkowicz

Your 1992 recording of Britten's Third Suite is widely known, due to its pairing with John Tavener's "The Protecting Veil" (which has been called a "cult" recording).  Do you have any approximate idea of how many copies that album has sold? I don't know—quite a few, anyway. I wonder how many people have listened to the Britten, though! There's another connection: the very first time I went to see John Tavener with my cello, I played him the passage in the coda of the Britten where the cello breaks into a chordal version of the chant for the dead—like a Russian Orthodox choir.  I remember him saying how wonderful that music sounded on the cello.  Much later, John heard me play the whole suite, and—rather to my surprise, because it [...]

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