MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987)
Complete Piano Sonatas
CD 1: No. 1, Op. 3 (1939) [16:08]; No. 2, Op. 6 (1939) [10:01]; No. 3, Op. 22 (1943) [12:12]; No. 4, Op. 36 (1949) [17:47]; No. 5, Op. 37 (1949) [8:44]; No. 6, Op. 39 (1950) [11:25]
CD 2: No. 7, Op. 40 (1950) [5:55]; No. 8, Op. 41 (1950) [6:37]; No. 9, Op. 58 (1952) [8:53]; No. 10, Op. 67 (1955) [21:37]; No. 11, Op. 101 (1965) [17:14]; No. 12 Mirror Sonata, Op. 145 (1982) [11:37]
Geoffrey Burleson (piano)
rec. 2005–2007, Patrych Sound Studios, New York City
full tracklist at end of review
NEW WORLD 80677-2 [77:10 + 72:46]

Experience Classicsonline

Persichetti - rather like New World - has rarely had a very high profile. His grown-up music has struggled to make itself known and appreciated. Notable among his works are the nine symphonies, four string quartets, twenty-four Parables for various solo instruments and small chamber groups, nine harpsichord sonatas and these sonatas. His twelve piano sonatas span his life from age 24 to five years short of his death. These are succinct pieces none longer than 22 minutes and as short as 5:55.
No. 1 is gawky, unafraid of Schoenbergian dissonance, runaway jazzy and indulging in flights of Nancarrow flyaway. The writing is grand and then sweeps down into bluesy honey and rhetorical angularity. The Second – shorter than the first - was written the same year. It has a devil-may-care casual mastery of the same idiom as the First. Struggle as portrayed in the finale is an integral part of the composer’s compositional make-up. The Third Sonata followed four years later in the thick of WW2. It has a strenuous stride and less of the dissonance than its predecessors. The rhetorical-heroic stance is in keeping with the epic times and with contemporary orchestral works of Harris, Schuman and Copland and indeed his own Third Symphony. This is tempered by a calming balm in the central two movements of four. No. 4 - from four years after the end of the war - returns to the Schoenbergian glimmer and angular rhetoric of the first two sonatas. The central movement and the finale are gentler conceits if hardly unclouded. From the same year comes the much shorter Fifth Sonata which ripples with pianola-chugging anarchy. The next year saw his Sixth Sonata which is a shade more relaxed than No. 4 but still energised by those motor rhythms in the outer movements. Like the Fifth its central core finds more piece though in this case it is a desolate thing looking for human emotion. The Seventh is the shortest of the sonatas running through sing-song folksong to off-key contentment and onwards to darting staccato. The Eighth follows much the same schema with those elysian asides as in 1:01 in the first movement. Its central ‘dream’ is warmly Mediterranean – a slow melting. The finale recalls sprightly Milhaud. The Ninth is a single movement piece in four segments: shatteringly assertive, New York sanguine, glitteringly opalescent, plangent and kindly (CD2 tr. 9) and stone-smashing. The big Tenth Piano Sonata is the longest: romantic and rippling with ringing and rather breathless kinetic power. Some of this recalls Shostakovich. The Eleventh is the most dissonant of the twelve with plenty of thorny rhetoric, macabre impacts and enigmatic clashes. The final Twelfth Piano Sonata (1982) is subtitled “Mirror”. It hums and shouts with upheavals alternating these passages with icy contemplation and stone-jazzy rhythmic assaults.
Geoffrey Burleson who plays the sonatas with such evident zeal and feeling also writes the thoughtful accompanying essay.
These sonatas stand in the same exalted row as the Cage Interludes and Sonatas, the jazz-inspired wildnesses of Kapustin, the Etudes and Sonatas of Sorabji, the piano music of John Foulds – especially the Essays in the Modes, Bowen’s 24 Preludes, Niels Viggo Bentzon’s Det Tempererede Klaver and Medtner’s Ballades. Do explore them – they are well worth your investment in time and attention.

Rob Barnett


Full track details
CD 1: 77:10
Sonata No. 1, Op. 3 (1939) [16:08
1. I. Allegro moderato 3:57
2. II. Adagio 5:03
3. III. Vivace 1:48
4. IV. Passacaglia 5:20
Sonata No. 2, Op. 6 (1939) [10:01
5. I. Moderato 3:05
6. II. Sostenuto 2:23
7. III. Allegretto 1:29
8. IV. Allegro 3:04
Sonata No. 3, Op. 22 (1943) [12:12
9. I. Declaration 3:38
10. II. Episode 4:11
11. III. Psalm 4:23
Sonata No. 4, Op. 36 (1949) [17:47
12. I. Broad 5:15
13. II. Moderately 5:37
14. III. Plaintively—Briskly 6:55
Sonata No. 5, Op. 37 (1949) [8:44
15. I. With Motion 2:36
16. II. Tenderly 3:24
17. III. Briskly 2:44
Sonata No. 6, Op. 39 (1950) [11:25
18. I. Lightly 2:58
19. II. Slowly 3:18
20. III. Blandly 1:38
21. IV. Fast 3:31
CD 2: 72:46
Sonata No. 7, Op. 40 (1950) [5:55
1. I. Moderato 2:41
2. II. Andante 1:27
3. III. Vivo 1:47
Sonata No. 8, Op. 41 (1950) [6:37
4. I. Lightly 2:13
5. II. Quietly 1:52
6. III. Fast 2:32
Sonata No. 9, Op. 58 (1952) [8:53
7. I. Moderato 3:35
8. II. Allegro agilite 1:50
9. III. Larghetto 1:04
10. IV. Allegro risoluto 2:24
Sonata No. 10, Op. 67 (1955) [21:37
11. I. Adagio 6:01
12. II. Presto 3:51
13. III. Andante 7:25
14. IV. Vivace 4:20
Sonata No. 11, Op. 101 (1965) [17:14
15. I. Risoluto 4:30
16. II. Articolato 4:16
17. III. Sostenuto 2:26
18. IV. Leggero 2:48
19. V. Conclusivo 3:14
Sonata No. 12 (Mirror Sonata), Op. 145 (1982) [11:37
20. I. Sostenuto-Risoluto 3:27
21. II. Amabile 2:25
22. III. Scherzoso 2:38
23. IV. Brioso 3:07








Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.