GEORGE PERLE (b.1915): 9 Bagatelles (Horacio Gutiérrez [piano]), 3 Inventions (Steven Dibner [bassoon]), Adagietto con affetto from Chansons Cachées (Shirley Rhoads Perle [piano]), 2 French Christmas Carols (New York Virtuoso Singers; Harold Rosenbaum), Triptych for Violin and Piano (Curtis Macomber [violin], Christopher Oldfather [piano]), Brief Encounters (String Quartet No. 9) (DePaul String Quartet), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Michael Boriskin [piano], Utah Symphony; Joseph Silverstein), Serenade No. 3 for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (Richard Goode [piano], Music Today Ensemble; Gerard Schwarz), Solo Partita for Violin and Viola (Macomber), 6 Celebratory Inventions (Molly Morkoski [piano]), Bassoonmusic (Dibner), String Quintet (Chicago String Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 01I075
Description: Nobody really needs to prove any points about George Perle at this point in history; we all know that he's been composing music of utter sincerity and impeccable craftsmanship and resolutely going his own way for roughly three-quarters of a century now - but if any point did need to be made, this excellent retrospective collection would make it very ably. The bulk of Perle's mature output exploits the system of 'twelve-tone tonality' that he devised; more than perhaps any other composer Perle has thoroughly incorporated the systematic approach of the Second Viennese school into an overall vocabulary that is not dominated by it; the result sounds like very sophisticated and highly chromatic tonality much of the time. Structurally, too, Perle borrows what he wants from earlier traditions and makes it his own; the high-tension piano concerto is in the traditional three-movement form and incorporates tightly organised and very recognisable derivatives of sonata form; there is even a cadenza - yet the piece sounds thoroughly modern and original, without ever resorting to avant garde effects. The lively rhythmic vitality of the Triptych and the sheer range of invention in Brief Encounters (the most extended work here) are also delightfully typical of the composer. Several of the pieces included are very recent; Bassoonmusic, at least at the time the booklet notes were written, was the composer's last completed work, a typically witty, eloquent and appealing divertimento. The inclusion of pieces from earlier decades, like the quintet (1957-8) demonstrates both the consistency of Perle's work and a general shift towards a more tonal-sounding language. At least one of the prolific nonagenarian's demonstrable masterpieces is included; 1983's endlessly inventive, emotionally kaleidoscopic Serenade No. 3. All new recordings except the concerto and Serenade (previously released on Harmonia Mundi in the early 90s and Nonesuch in the late 80s respectively). 2 CDs.