CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
This enterprising disc includes a first performance and recording of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Four Dances from Love’s Labour’s Lost given, like the Second Piano Concerto, in Marangoni’s own edition; the result of intensive needle-in-a-haystack research. And, played by the hyperactive pianist and orchestra with such scintillating abandon, the composer’s charm and brio could, just possibly, bring a smile to even the most crusty and conservative listener.
Certainly the First Concerto’s sunny optimism, with its bursts of tarantella rhythm and continuous pianistic high jinks, must be a delectable treat for pianists anxious to take time off from more serious musical fare. The finale (Vivo e festoso) may remain blissfully unaware that brevity can be the soul of wit but, given with such relish, its drive and appeal are hard to resist. The Second Concerto is more substantial, though its occasional sobriety hardly suggests the onset of fascism in Italy as the sleeve asserts. Finally, if you find your head spinning as so many ideas jostle for attention in the concertos, try Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s affectionate if facile pastiche tribute to Shakespeare, music that reminds you that he was for many years a tireless worker in Tinseltown. Excellently recorded, this is very much a record for those with a sweet tooth who like the lighter things of life.