The guitar works of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco : editorial principles, comparative source studies and critical editions of selected works



The technical limitations ofthe guitar present composers who do not play the instrument themselves but who wish to compose for it with difficulties that can often only be overcome by close collaboration with a performer. It is these difficulties that have discouraged composers from writing for the instrument on their own initiative, and it was not until the early twentieth century that non-guitarist composers were commissioned by performers, most notably the Spaniard Andres Segovia. The Italian Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was one such composer. He eventually became so intrigued by the guitar that he wrote numerous works for it, often on his own initiative, and dedicated them to various performers. He would also give the instrument a prominent place in various chamber ensembles. It appears that the instrument’s technical limitations remained beyond his grasp, and his compositions present performers with numerous problematic passages. However, it was never his intention to write in a way that would conform to what was technically acceptable at the time. Instead he aimed to renew the repertoire, and he provided performers with a text that always needed to be adapted for performance. In order to produce texts that were commercially viable, the published editions of his works for guitar had to be heavily edited. In so doing, the composer’s notation was obscured by the many alterations which reflect the editors’ views as to what constituted technically acceptable solutions to otherwise demanding passages.

This thesis examines Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s contributions to the guitar repertoire, and it evaluates how his music was edited for publication. Comparative source studies are presented of three of his compositions that date from the same period yet were published under very different circumstances. In order to classify the differences in the sources, this thesis evaluates the nature of revisions and their underlying intentions. In addition, it categorizes the various editorial changes that are commonly found in music for guitar by non-guitarist composers.- This provides a framework for a methodology according to which new critical editions ofthe three works are presented. This study shows that what would normally be considered to be the most authoritative source (the printed editions, because they would have been approved by the composer) does not necessarily provide the best base for a modem critical edition. What appears to be an authorized text turns out not to reflect most accurately what the composer intended. Although no methodology can be comprehensive and applicable to all works by any composer, this thesis seeks to develop a general set of editorial principles that are potentially applicable to the editing ofother works for guitar by non-guitarist composers.

Van Gammeren, Dario Leendert


The guitar works of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco : editorial principles, comparative source studies and critical editions of selected works



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