A study of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Piedigrotta 1924: rapsodia napoletana
Gualdi, Paolo André
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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Piedigrotta 1924: Rapsodia Napoletana is a solo piano work inspired by Neapolitan folk music. This source of inspiration is quite unusual for an early twentieth-century Italian composer, considering that the general music tastes of the time steered clear of vernacular sources and favored a rediscovery of forms and genres from the Renaissance and Baroque. The piece is the only full work in Castelnuovo-Tedesco's compositional output that is inspired by the realm of Neapolitan popular music. However, Piedigrotta 1924 embodies many of the composer's stylistic traits, including a keenness for evoking extra-musical elements and a love for melody and thematic transformation. This study explores several aspects of Piedigrotta 1924 that make this work a unique example in the piano repertoire, taking account of the historical and political scene in Italy in the early twentieth century, and including remarks on the composer's style, influences, and compositional characteristics.