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

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987)
Solo Piano Works - Volume 1
Sonatinas: No. 1, Op. 38 (1950) [3:25]; No. 2, Op. 45 (1950) [4:12]; No. 3, Op. 47 (1950) [3:15]; No. 4, Op. 63 (1954) [2:40]; No. 5, Op. 64 (1954) [2:01]; No. 6, Op. 65 (1954) [1:33]
Little Piano Book, Op. 60 (1953) [12:09]
Serenades: No. 7, Op. 55 (1952) [7:30]; No. 2, Op. 2 (1929) [2:19]
Poems for Piano, Vol. 1, Op. 4 (1939) [7:27]; Vol. 2, Op. 5 (1939) [7:43]; Vol. 3, Op. 14 (1941) [12:47]
Parades, Op. 57 (1952) [2:42]
Variations for an Album, Op. 32 (1947) [3:05]
Myron Silberstein (piano)
rec. 2015, Patrych Sound Studios, Bronx, New York.

Among United States composers who lived during the last century Vincent Persichetti has had patchy attention. Recurrently prominent in a long worklist are 25 Parables and 15 Serenades, all for various instrumentations. Serenades 2 and 7 are for solo piano and feature in the set under review. There are nine numbered symphonies, of which the first two are not available for performance - echoes of Schuman and Mennin and to some extent Harris. The Fourth Symphony was taken up by Ormandy and selections of the symphonies can be heard on Albany (TROY771-2) and First Edition (FECD0034). The Four String Quartets have been recorded by the Lydian Quartet for Centaur. There are concertos for Piano and for English Horn, championed respectively by James Dick in New York and Thomas Stacy in Philadelphia. The twelve numbered piano sonatas have been recorded by Geoffrey Burleson for New World.

Now, at the very same Patrych studios used for the New World sonata set, comes the first of what appears to be a solo piano series for Centaur by Myron Silberstein who is also a composer. His recording of solo piano works by Peter Mennin and Norman Lloyd was released on Naxos American Classics a few years back and is well worth a second listen. More than twenty years ago he recorded Bloch's piano sonata and works by Giannini for Connoisseur Society.

As is evident from the Burleson recordings of the piano sonatas, Persichetti is not given to extended statements. His messages are telegraphed succinctly and this aspect has been there from his earliest days. There are 55 tracks on this 72-minute CD. The six Sonatinas - like so much else here from the first half of the 1950s - are rife with music that speaks through softened collisions of Bach and jazz; a world of sly smiles and peaceful slowly unfolding dreams. There's an engaging strolling self-absorption and cooling contemplative quality that relates more to Ravel than Debussy with gentle dances that suggest a kinship with the works of Rubbra (Farnaby Improvisations) and Warlock (Capriol).

The Little Piano Book comprises 13 balmy and folksy micro-miniatures. The effect is cooling yet prefigures Nancarrow and Kapustin. Often Persichetti and Silberstein make hay with an affecting humming tone. For me this is one of the marks of fine pianism and one that escapes the confines of a percussive instrument (tr. 22). Tracks 25-26 of the Book make use of fugal intricacy, but it's not academic. The relaxing Berners-like saunter and sunny dissonance of Serenade No. 7 contrasts with "Bad Boy" moments in No. 2, suggesting sympathy with the early works of Cowell, Antheil and Ornstein. The three volumes of Poems date from just before the USA's entry into World War II. Their language extends to an impressive slow stepping arioso, a tenderly whimsical jazzy piacevole and an intriguing world of strange corners and secret smiles. The Parades, with their uncluttered textures, ripple with convulsive twitchy activity: a sort of Restless Legs Syndrome in music.

The extensive notes are by Walter Simmons, musicologist and dedicated advocate of an often-neglected generation of American composers. His excellent Rowman & Littlefield book (Voices of Stone and Steel, 2011) conjoins spectacularly accessible studies of Mennin, Schumann and Persichetti. His notes for Centaur make a satisfying foil to this well performed and recorded disc. It is delightful that Persichetti's music is in such sympathetic hands.

Rob Barnett


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