Championed during his lifetime by such luminaries as Toscanini and Heifetz, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed some of the finest Italian music of the early decades of the 20th century.
A chance discovery of the composer’s unpublished Shakespeare Sonnets—as well as a song cycle on texts from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—led to 15 years of research and performance by Oberlin Professor of Voice Salvatore Champagne ’85 and pianist Howard Lubin.
In them Champagne found music of profound beauty and intimacy—and he became intent on sharing these treasures through his singing and in his work with students.
The new recording that resulted, What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand to Record?, makes these songs available to a wider audience for the first time.
It is accompanied by a 66-page book: a collaboration of Tedesco scholars and the International Center for American Music that provides fascinating insight into Castelnuovo-Tedesco's life, work, and his impact on a generation of American composers and musicians.
“Throughout my work, I have enjoyed the support and encouragement of some of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s most noted experts and enthusiasts,” Champagne writes in the book’s foreword. “Yet the greatest impetus to my continued interest has always been the songs themselves. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s refined musical and poetic sensibilities are ideally suited to the Whitman and Shakespeare texts. Perhaps most striking is how vividly the abundant humanity evident in the writings of these two authors is reflected in the music of this remarkable composer.”
Distributed by Naxos of America, What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand to Record? is available through select retailers and digital music channels worldwide. Oberlin Music is the official label of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Recent releases have included an Oberlin Trio recording of piano trios by Antonín Dvořák, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Joan Tower, and Professor of Bassoon George Sakakeeny's full moon in the city, featuring works by Peter Schickele, Russell Platt ’87, Augusta Read Thomas, and Libby Larsen.
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