Musing his own life and exile in the last years of life, the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco decided to dedicate a cycle of song to the Spanish poet Moses Ibn Ezra whose exile from his native Granada disrupted his early life and became a source of inspiration. Castelnuovo Tedesco came himself from a family of Spanish origin that traced its arrival in Italy to the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
Born in Florence in 1895, as a young composer he distinguished himself in the cultural milieu of Ildebrando Pezzetti and Alfredo Casella. In 1926 he premiered his first opera, La Mandragola, based on Nicolò Machiavelli’s play, inaugurating a long interest in literature that would lead him to put to music writers such as Aeschylus, Virgil, John Keats, William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Miguel de Cervantes, Federico García Lorca.
The racial laws of 1938 banned his music from the public cultural scene and put an end to its work in Italy. In 1939 he managed to flee to the US with the help of his friend and admirer Jascha Heifetz who obtained from him a contract with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Castelnuovo Tedesco remained in America working for the film industry as well as a teacher. He composed new works inspired by American literature and by his renewed interest in the Jewish liturgical tradition.
His passion for the guitar was sparked by his encounter with André Segovia in 1932 and the magnificent song cycle TheDivan of Moses Ibn Ezra is his last homage to the instrument and the tradition it represents.
Luigi Attademo has performed at many festivals and concert halls the music of contemporary composers. He has appeared on the Italian public Radio3 RAI and Rete Toscana Classica. Working in the archive of the Andrés Segovia’s Foundation he discovered unknown manuscripts of important composers, such as Jaume Pahissa, Alexandre Tansman, and Gaspar Cassadò which he published in the Spanish musicological review La Roseta.
Attademo recorded a CD dedicated to Scarlatti’s Sonatas and one of Bach transcriptions. Other recording include Variations on Folia and Boccherini’s quintets. He received a doctorate in philosophy and composed music for the theatre piece Il canto della Tenebra (Berlin 2004) dedicated to the esoteric Italian poet Dino Campana.