Mario Comes Home

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Thanks to Christopher Hartten and Robin Rausch, Music Division, for contributing to this post.

Prolific Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) wrote music in virtually every genre. He began composing as a child and studied composition under Ildebrando Pizzetti. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s 1932 meeting with guitarist Andrés Segovia would inspire him to write what would become dozens of compositions for that instrument. In 1939, the composer fled fascist Italy and ended up in Hollywood where he landed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a film composer. Over the next twenty years, he scored hundreds of films for several studios and influenced many up-and-coming film composers. He also continued to compose operas and concert works.

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Second piano quintet, op. 155. Reproduced with permission of Lisbeth Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music appeared in such prestigious films as the 1945 version of The Picture of Dorian Gray and George Cukor’s Gaslight. Dog lovers take note –  he also scored three Lassie movies: Courage of Lassie, Son of Lassie, and Lassie Come Home. The Music Division is home to the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Papers, which includes holograph music manuscripts, printed scores, libretti, photographs, clippings and other written materials. For a complete inventory of the collection, see the Finding Aid.

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