This Columbia record from 1977 has GLORIOUS Demo Disc Quality sound on its White Hot side one, rivaling the very best orchestral guitar recordings by the likes of Rodrigo, Falla and Albeniz on Golden Age London vinyl we have ever heard.
If I could have only one guitar concerto recording in my collection, there’s a very good chance I would choose this one — that’s of course assuming I could have a copy that sounds as good as this one does on side one. It’s spacious and open and three-dimensional in a way that few classical recordings we play are, and we an awful lot of top quality classical records.
We would love to find some nice London guitar concerto records to offer our customers, but these days such records are very hard to find and often too expensive for us to buy when we do.
We found this one, however, and although it may not be from the Golden Age or on London, it sounds to these ears every bit as good as any guitar concerto record I can remember hearing from that era or that label.
And the music is sublime. I heard this piece at a customer’s home in a very large room with a high ceiling, the speakers pulled well out from the walls. The speakers disappeared, leaving sound that was nothing less than glorious, as big as the room and as natural as any I had heard up until that time. That was about ten years ago. I’ve lusted for a huge dedicated room ever since.
It took us many years to find enough copies of the album to do a shootout. This is the only one with a White Hot side one. It’s by far the best on that side.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco – Concerto No. 1 in D for Guitar (14:08)
Malcolm Arnold – Serenade for Guitar and String Orchestra (4:41)
A+++, with an especially extended top end that opens up the soundstage like you will not believe. If your room is big enough perhaps your speakers will disappear too!
And on quiet vinyl, a big help with guitar music.
Stephen Dodgson – Concerto No. 2 for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra (22:17) A+ to A++. The music on this side is lovely; it reminds me a bit of Prokofiev. The tonality is fine, but the sound is a bit dry and modern and not nearly as transparent as the sound on side one. Still, very good sound all things considered.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (April 3, 1895 – March 16, 1968) was an Italian composer. He was known as one of the foremost guitar composers in the twentieth century with almost one hundred compositions for that instrument. In 1939 he migrated to the United States and became a film composer for MGM Studios for some 200 Hollywood movies for the next fifteen years. He also wrote concertos for such soloists as Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky.
Like many artists who fled fascism, Castelnuovo-Tedesco ended up in Hollywood, where, with the help of Jascha Heifetz, he landed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a film composer. Over the next fifteen years, he worked on scores for some 200 films there and at the other major film studios.
He was a significant influence on other major film composers, including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein and André Previn. Jerry Goldsmith, Marty Paich and John Williams are all his pupils.
From the Milken Archive
He is often associated most prominently with his works for classical guitar and his contributions to that repertoire, and it is probably upon that medium that his chief fame rests. His association with Andres Segovia resulted in his unintentionally neo-Classical Concerto in D for guitar (op. 99, 1939), and eventually in a catalogue of nearly 100 guitar works.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote later in his career that he “never believed in modernism, nor in neo-Classicism, nor in any other ‘isms’”; that he found all means of expression valid and useful. He rejected the highly analytic and theoretical style that was in vogue among many 20th-century composers, and in general his musical approach was informed not by abstract concepts and procedures, but by extramusical ideas—literary or visual.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco – Concerto No. 1 in D for Guitar
Malcolm Arnold – Serenade for Guitar and String Orchestra
Stephen Dodgson – Concerto No. 2 for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra