VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Piano Sonatas No. 10, Op. 67 and No. 11, Op. 101, Serenade No. 7, Op. 55.
Catalogue Number: 12M067
Description: This excellently remastered recording, long out of print, is by one of the composer's favorite performers, and was warmly approved by him. The Tenth is a compact 4-movement structure played without pause. A pianist-composer, married to a concert pianist, Persichetti unsurprisingly wrote idiomatically and with great fluency for the instrument. Stylistically the work fits within the broad spectrum of mid-20th-century extended tonality; a particular trademark of Persichetti is a restless interchange of different modal scales, chromatic writing and clear tonality, creating a sense of harmonic ambiguity despite the clear tonal relationships always present. This characteristic is presented even more plainly in the 6 little character pieces that make up the elegant Serenade, distilling the composer's language into simpler, less technically demanding textures. The Eleventh is a thornier work than the Tenth, less conventionally laid out and with some elements of dodecaphony in its construction (though not in a rigorous sense). The work is a study in abrupt contrasts, jagged figures alternating with gentle melodic lines, passages of breathtaking velocity with moments of glacial stillness, and so on, always presented with meticulous control and craftsmanship. Ellen Burmeister (piano). Original 1985 Owl Recording LP release.