Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:


Lorenzo Micheli, Guitar
Naxos 8.554831

Crotchet     Amazon US

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
Tarantella, Op.95
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 music).

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.

Andy Daly


Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Concert and Show tickets
Musicians accessories
Click here to visit