Author Topic: Persichetti's Pizzeria  (Read 6428 times)

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karlhenning

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Persichetti's Pizzeria
« on: January 14, 2009, 03:33:08 PM »
Funny you should mention Persichetti :)

A cd arrived this morning from Arkiv in the USA of the only Persichetti symphony which had not previously been in my collection-the Sinfonia Janiculum(Symphony No.9). It is a Japanese copy of a RCA recording so the insert booklet is not much use to me ;D

The coupling is Part I-The Entombment of Christ' of Penderecki's Oratorio 'Utrenja'. At first i thought that this was a rather odd coupling until I discovered that Penderecki dedicated this piece to Ormandy(although he did not conduct the premiere).

Haven't listened to the cd yet but will report back in due course.

All right, Colin:  I want details of the other eight (or more) symphonies!

At your leisure, naturalmente!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2009, 05:25:40 PM »
Details, Karl?

First of all it is probably necessary to say that Vincent Persichetti(1915-87) was an important American composer and teacher. He was the son of an Italian father and German mother, thereby placing him in that extremely distinguished group of American composers of Italian extraction which also included Walter Piston(Pistone), Peter Mennin(Mennini), Paul Creston(Guttoveggio), and Vittorio Giannini. A native of Philadelphia, Persichetti remained in that city all his life and was head of the Composition Department at the Philadelphia Conservatory. He also however commuted weekly to New York to teach at the Julliard where his most famous pupils were probably Philip Glass and Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Persichetti's music is (mostly) tonal, neo-classical, energetic, influenced by composers like Hindemith, Bartok and Stravinsky. He wrote a great deal of music for choirs and also for wind ensembles.

I would place him high in the second division of American symphonists. His music is not neo-romantic like that of composers like Barber,Hanson or Creston nor does it sound very much like the 'American' idiom of Roy Harris or early Copland. It has more in common, I suppose, with that of a composer like Piston or Schuman, without the abrasive side of the latter. If Copland, Barber, Schuman, Piston, Sessions, Harris, Hanson, Diamond and Mennin could be regarded as an 'A' list of contemporary symphonists then I would put Persichetti and Creston at the top of the 'B' list.

Persichetti wrote nine symphonies but withdrew Nos. 1 and 2.

The remaining seven-

No.3(1946): recorded by the Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Alan Miller on TROY 771/72(coupled with Nos. 4 and 7)
No.4(1951): as above, but also available in a 1956 mono recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy on TROY 276
No. 5(Symphony for Strings)(1953): recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti on New World NW 370-2(coupled with the
                                                      Piano Concerto); also available coupled with No.8 on First Edition Music FECD-0034 with the
                                                      Louisville Orchestra(Robert Whitney and Jorge Mester)
No.6(Symphony for Band)(1956): on Mercury 432 754-2-Eastman Wind Ensemble/Frederick Fennell; also available on Naxos 8.570243
                                                      with the United States Marine Band
No.7('Liturgical') (1958): as above
No.8(1967): on TROY 024-2-Louisville Orchestra/Jorge Mester; also as above
No.9 ('Sinfonia Janiculum')(1970): recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy and available from Arkiv Music

Is that ok, Karl? ;D

« Last Edit: January 15, 2009, 05:04:59 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline donaldopato

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2009, 04:04:27 AM »
The 9th is a wonderful work and was originally coupled on a RCA disc with William Schuman's 9th. Very much in the style of Creston and a bit like Piston as well. Good solid, conservative, listenable work.

It has been ages since I heard much else from Persichetti. However, I  recently heard the recent Naxos recording of his wind band Symphony # 6, one of the more successful ventures in that medium. Naxos 8.570243.
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karlhenning

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2009, 05:01:52 AM »
. . . Persichetti wrote nine symphonies but withdrew Nos. 1 and 2.

The remaining seven-

No. 3 (1946): recorded by the Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Alan Miller on TROY 771/72(coupled with Nos. 4 and 7)

No. 4 (1951): as above, but also available in a 1956 mono recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy on TROY 276

No. 5 (Symphony for Strings) (1953): recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti on New World NW 370-2 (coupled with the Piano Concerto)

No. 6 (Symphony for Band)(1956): on Mercury 432 754-2-Eastman Wind Ensemble/Frederick Fennell

No. 7 ('Liturgical') (1958): as above

No. 8 (1967): on TROY 024-2-Louisville Orchestra/Jorge Mester

No. 9 ('Sinfonia Janiculum') (1970): recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy and available from Arkiv Music

Is that ok, Karl? ;D

A splendid start, thank you, Colin!  I appreciate the specs on the recordings available of the symphonies . . . when you have got a moment to reflect, I'd be glad of your impressions on their different characters, please!  A nine-year gap separates nos. 7 & 8, is there a shift at all in 'voice'?

I am only sure of one, though it's possible I've heard two, piece(s) for wind ensemble that I once heard.  (Well, the one I played, way back . . . not even sure of the title;  it was a short-ish piece.)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2009, 05:13:18 AM »
I should have added that Persichetti was the composer who wrote 'A Lincoln Address' for Richard Nixon's Presidential Inauguration in 1973-a work which was not performed then because it was considered that the words did not fit well at a time when the Vietnam War was raging! The work will be released shortly by Naxos in a compendium of musical compositions inspired by Abraham Lincoln.

Two useful websites:

http://www.presser.com/Composers/info.cfm?Name=VINCENTPERSICHETTI

http://www.persichetti.org/

Offline donaldopato

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2009, 06:02:15 AM »
I vaguely remember the controversy over Persichetti's "A Lincoln Address". Curious if this  Naxos release will also include the Harris Symphony # 10 "Abraham Lincoln"?
Until I get my coffee in the morning I'm a fit companion only for a sore-toothed tiger." ~Joan Crawford

karlhenning

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2009, 06:03:11 AM »
I vaguely remember the controversy over Persichetti's "A Lincoln Address".

I bet the commissioning of that piece would make a colorful tale.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 07:14:46 AM »
I vaguely remember the controversy over Persichetti's "A Lincoln Address". Curious if this  Naxos release will also include the Harris Symphony # 10 "Abraham Lincoln"?

Unfortunately not :(

Naxos has said that it is recording a complete Harris symphonic cycle with Marin Alsop but, so far, only Nos. 3 and 4 have made it to disc although Nos. 5 and 6 have been recorded for future release. I did not think that Alsop managed to do as good a job in No.3 as Bernstein in his classic performance. I wonder if they intend to duplicate Nos. 7 and 9 which Theodore Kuchar recorded earlier for them?

Offline Guido

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 05:05:07 PM »
All I know if him are his flower songs which are truly wonderful. Recorded on Naxos, but I can't seem to find the CD on Amazon...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2009, 05:22:01 PM by Guido »
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snyprrr

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 08:13:13 AM »
I finally got the Amos/HM recording of Persichetti's 'Divertimentos for Band'. Frankly, it made me wish that I hadn't sold that Mercury cd with Sym No.6.

Well, as has been stated since this cd probably came out, this might be one of the best wind/band cds ever recorded. The sound, playing, and music itself, are all top notch.

Like Piston(i), Persichetti has both a popular side, and a more complex side, and this cd brings all of his acheivement into view. I'm sure most of you have this cd, so I won't bore you.

Parable for Band certainly might be the best band piece I've ever heard, and it certainly is a great mate for the Band Symphony (btw- what of Harris' Symphony for Band?). Of course, my 'normal' friend says it all sounds like movie music, but, hey, at this point it sounds to me like Persichetti practically invented the mid-'70s cop show 'sound', haha!!

Really, can I get a witness on this cd?

Now I'm holding off a Persichetti fever. I've been looking over his discography. It certainly is frustrating, but I see a couple of jewels. Does anyone have a fav?

snyprrr

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2 Pianos/Malinova Sisters
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 09:00:09 AM »
Anyone remember this Koch gem, featuring the Malinova Sisters in music for 2Ps by Barber and Persichetti?

Barber- Souvenirs Op.28

Persichetti- Serenade No.8  Op.62 (4h)
                  Sonata for 2P Op.13
                  Concerto for Piano, 4h, Op.56

The Concerto is the longest piece (@20m), and makes a nice mate to the Stravinsky. I'd say it at least sounds a bit more complex, not as obvious as Stravinsky. I'll admit I have a fondness for dry, grey anonimity in my '50s music: Persichetti does this style better than anyone IMO (as, say, compared with Piston(i)). The Serenade is 3mins long, the Sonata, 9. Fans of the Barber can feel free. The sound is just a touch recessed, but the plunky Yamahas (with a bit of treble roll-off) come through fine. At 52mins, though, someone can probably come up with one more neglected 2P work.  At this point, you're seriously going to have to convince me of masterpieces in this repertoire, passed the Top5, or so (the usual suspects).

Anyhow, Persichetti's 12 Piano Sonatas are available, and the Amazon reviewers are all saying "finally"! It's almost $40, so I thought this 2P disc would appease me (which it has). Does anyone have the Sonatas? I hear the last, "Mirror Sonata", has some great harmonic play.

Offline BALCONY

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2011, 05:43:30 AM »
Persichetti's harmonic style was quite conservative early on. But there was a remarkable change in the 60's. One can hear the new fearlessness in the delightfully shocking opening bars of his "Masquerade for Band"(1966). An early Persichetti tactic was to put a big, splashy "surprise" dissonant chord at the very end of a work.  But in "Masquerade", here is a massive, fortissimo 12-note aggregation from the outset that seems to say "Watch out! Anything can happen in this piece!".  And then for 10 minutes it does. A set of wild variations based on materials from his textbook "Modern Harmony" and one of the true masterworks of wind band repertoire.  Persichetti himself noted the existence of both the sweet and the rough in his music, and in later works the rough ("ruvido") often has the winning hand. His later "Parable for Band" and Symphony #9 demonstrate that by the 1970s Persichetti had embraced a sort of American expressionism. "Parable" has technical complexities that were almost unheard of in band works at the time, and for which Persichetti is not often given credit. Late in his career, Persichetti freely alternated between the earlier conservatism and the later complexity.

Offline Scion7

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2016, 05:58:48 AM »
Walter Piston was only 1/8th Italian - the rest of his ancestry was English.
The anglicization of his name was done not by him, but by his father.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 06:03:57 AM by Scion7 »
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) - Piano Quintet
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2016, 06:02:24 AM »
Apparently, the only recording of the Piano Quintet Op.66 [1954] is the 1979 LP with the composer on piano and the Arizona State New Art Art String Quartet.

C'mon, folks, we need a CD !
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

snyprrr

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Re: Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) - PERSICHETTI'S PIAZZA
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2016, 10:07:17 AM »
Apparently, the only recording of the Piano Quintet Op.66 [1954] is the 1979 LP with the composer on piano and the Arizona State New Art Art String Quartet.

C'mon, folks, we need a CD !

Walter Piston was only 1/8th Italian - the rest of his ancestry was English.
The anglicization of his name was done not by him, but by his father.

I have commented previous on Pistini, Mennini and Persichetti,... Dello Joio(?)...Martino(?)... I know, I'm trolling... buuut... is American Music wholly Ashkenaz+Italian? huh...


Anyhow, I've been still fending off a Persichetti Fever...  it seems  one can get to the bottom of Persichetti at last... we have the Violin+Piano Music on Naxos, the Complete Piano Sonatas (Albany)... 2 Pianos (Koch)... maaany of the 'Parables' (mostly thanks to Crystal label)... the SQs (Centaur)... the Wind Music... but yes, I'd like to hear the Piano Quintet... a recording with Piston would be ideal... and maybe Harris...

I haven't really warmed to the Symphonies that much, don't have them now,... never liked that Sym5/Piano Concerto-Muti disc (New World)... wasn't overwhelmed by the 3/4/7 disc... maybe I'd like 4 the best?... maybe try that Delos/de Priest recording?...

but he really shines in the wind works

(scampers off to research...)

Offline Scion7

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Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) - researches .....
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2016, 09:48:01 PM »
During your scamperage, check out his Concerto for English Horn and Strings, Op.137, from 1977.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 04:23:14 AM by Scion7 »
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Daverz

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Re: Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) - PERSICHETTI'S PIAZZA
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2016, 11:18:34 PM »
is American Music wholly Ashkenaz+Italian? huh...

It's their revenge for Ruggles.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) - PERSICHETTI'S PIAZZA
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2016, 11:38:15 PM »
It's their revenge for Ruggles.
Ruggles in not a patch on Partch.

snyprrr

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria - A CRITICAL SURVEY- ESSENTIAL
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2016, 04:06:27 PM »
Here is my critical overview of my recent listening, my new Essential Persichetti, somewhat in order:



1) Sinfonia: Janiculum (Symphony No.9): This is by far VP's most out-there work, large forces, mysterious, one movement, powerful yet forbidding, not like any of the other Symphonies. All we have is Ormandy on LP, but it's really good. My expectations were demolished with this piece.

2) 'Parable' for Band: also in one 'Fantasia' movement. All the hallmarks of VP's personal style are here; dazzling wind writing.

3) Symphony No.6 (Symphony for Band): a perfect Neo-Classic Symphony. That's all.

4) Symphony No.4: I don't really go too much for VP's Symphonies, but, 4 & 6 are nearly identical, and perfect examples of the American Neo-Classicism, and... I like them better than most all Piston. Don't flame me!! Symphony No.8 would round out the bottom here. Not a big fan of 3,5, or 7.

5) 'Parable' for Brass Quinte (Crystal)t: here is the same ingenious procedure that he used for all his pieces @1966-73, in his most virtuoso display for his favorite instruments. I think it's better than String Quartet No.4.

6) Piano Sonatas 1-12 (NewWorld): everyone's been raving about this set since it came out, and for good reason. Just listen to the samples if you want some mid-century Neo-Classic Perfection.

7) Serenade/ Sonata/ Concerto for 2 Pianos (Koch, w/Barber): and here is a scintillating addendum to the Sonatas, three wonderful pieces.

8) Music for Violin & Piano (Naxos): rounding out VP's prodigious output of Piano Music are his Sonatinas. And, I believe, all his important Violin Music is here, but, it's not much to write home about. I would rather have the Viola Music below.

9) 'Infanta Marina'; 'Parable' for Solo Viola (Cortese; Crystal): I prefer these two pieces as examples of VP's writing in this vein.

10) 4 String Quartets (Centaur): they are all very fine, No.4 being the standout, though, I like them all. Listen to them with the Piano Sonatas and the Brass Quintet.


11) 'Pastoral' for Wind Quintet: a ubiquitous piece on many ww quintet CDs.

12) 'The Hollow Men' for Trumpet and Organ/Strings: another ubiquitous VP piece, typical of a heightened USA lyricism.

13) 'Parable' for Horn: one of the better of his endless solo pieces.

14) Choral Music

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Persichetti's Pizzeria
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2016, 07:54:16 AM »
Here is my critical overview of my recent listening, my new Essential Persichetti, somewhat in order:



1) Sinfonia: Janiculum (Symphony No.9): This is by far VP's most out-there work, large forces, mysterious, one movement, powerful yet forbidding, not like any of the other Symphonies. All we have is Ormandy on LP, but it's really good. My expectations were demolished with this piece.

2) 'Parable' for Band: also in one 'Fantasia' movement. All the hallmarks of VP's personal style are here; dazzling wind writing.

3) Symphony No.6 (Symphony for Band): a perfect Neo-Classic Symphony. That's all.

4) Symphony No.4: I don't really go too much for VP's Symphonies, but, 4 & 6 are nearly identical, and perfect examples of the American Neo-Classicism, and... I like them better than most all Piston. Don't flame me!! Symphony No.8 would round out the bottom here. Not a big fan of 3,5, or 7.

5) 'Parable' for Brass Quinte (Crystal)t: here is the same ingenious procedure that he used for all his pieces @1966-73, in his most virtuoso display for his favorite instruments. I think it's better than String Quartet No.4.

6) Piano Sonatas 1-12 (NewWorld): everyone's been raving about this set since it came out, and for good reason. Just listen to the samples if you want some mid-century Neo-Classic Perfection.

7) Serenade/ Sonata/ Concerto for 2 Pianos (Koch, w/Barber): and here is a scintillating addendum to the Sonatas, three wonderful pieces.

8) Music for Violin & Piano (Naxos): rounding out VP's prodigious output of Piano Music are his Sonatinas. And, I believe, all his important Violin Music is here, but, it's not much to write home about. I would rather have the Viola Music below.

9) 'Infanta Marina'; 'Parable' for Solo Viola (Cortese; Crystal): I prefer these two pieces as examples of VP's writing in this vein.

10) 4 String Quartets (Centaur): they are all very fine, No.4 being the standout, though, I like them all. Listen to them with the Piano Sonatas and the Brass Quintet.


11) 'Pastoral' for Wind Quintet: a ubiquitous piece on many ww quintet CDs.

12) 'The Hollow Men' for Trumpet and Organ/Strings: another ubiquitous VP piece, typical of a heightened USA lyricism.

13) 'Parable' for Horn: one of the better of his endless solo pieces.

14) Choral Music

Most interesting, thanks!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
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