Vincent Persichetti: Piano Sonatas 10 & 11
"An important reissue: Ellen Burmeister's performances are authoritative,
and Starkland's remastering serves them well."
“Extremely fine restoration and remastering... Burmeister's performances
reveal a sensitivty and precision that elicited the composer's explicit
“What a joy to listen to this!... The compositions are not outdated,
but sound very fresh and full of sparkling surprises.”
This new CD of piano works by Vincent Persichetti offers
the only available recordings personally approved by the composer of his
substantial Tenth and Eleventh Piano Sonatas. Performed by Persichetti
specialist Ellen Burmeister, this long out-of-print reissue also presents
the only current recording of the composer’s simple but charming
Serenade No. 7.
Persichetti was an ardent fan of Burmeister. “You are such a wonderful
pianist,” he wrote, adding, “Your interest in my music warms
The new CD is produced by Thomas Steenland, who also
produced the original 1985 album. Prior
to that recording, Persichetti wrote:
“It is rare when a pianist decides to play all a composer’s
piano literature. Ellen Burmeister is doing that for me. I am pleased
not only for her talents but also by her sound musicianship and dedication.”
Upon hearing the final tape before the LP was released,
Persichetti sent an enthusiastic note of approval to Steenland, noting
that Burmeister “has
done a fine job.”
The CD’s booklet reissues the full LP notes on
the music from both Persichetti and Burmeister.
Persichetti is regarded as one of the major figures in
American music of the 20th century. He was an accomplished pianist, and
his piano music forms a substantial part of his creative output, with a
concerto, a concertino, twelve sonatas, and a variety of other pieces written
for the instrument.
In addition, his wife, Dorothea, was an accomplished pianist, and Persichetti
composed The Eleventh Piano Sonata for her.
A member of the piano faculty at the University
of Wisconsin, Madison,
Burmeister specialized in the music of Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions,
and Alan Hovhaness. She performed and/or gave presentations on much
of Persichetti’s piano music.
three Guggenheim Fellowships, the first Kennedy Center Friedheim Award,
Brandeis University Creative Arts Award,
Juilliard Publication Award, and the Symphony League Award. Among some
100 commissions were those from the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York
Philharmonic, the St. Louis and Louisville Symphony Orchestras, the Koussevitsky
Music Foundation, Martha Graham Company, Juilliard
Musical Foundation, and the American Guild of Organists.
For this reissue, the original 25-year old analog tapes
were transferred by engineer David Glasser, at the Restoration Center at
Airshow Mastering, to
a high-resolution (176.4 kHz, 24 bit) digital format. Tom Steenland then
polished these hi-res versions to
create the new master.
[Persichetti photo by Michael Ahearn]