Pennario's 1950-1958 recordings reissued on MSR

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Lance
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Pennario's 1950-1958 recordings reissued on MSR

Post by Lance » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:35 pm

~ A n n o u n c i n g ~

Leonard Pennario, pianist
"The Early Years" - 1950-1958


CHOPIN:
Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35
Complete Waltzes
Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53 ("Heroic")
SCHUMANN:
Fantasia in C Major, Op. 17
LISZT:
Sonata in B Minor
FRANCK:
Prelude, Chorale and Fugue
MUSSORGSKY:
Pictures at an Exhibition
PROKOFIEV:
Vision Fugitives, Op. 22
BARTÓK:
Piano Sonata, Sz. 80
RÓSZA:
Piano Sonata in A Minor, Op. 20
RAVEL:
Miroirs
Gaspard de la nuit
La Valse
DEBUSSY:
La Plus que Lente
Rêverie
PENNARIO:
Midnight on the Cliffs (1942)
Variations on The Kerry Dances (1942)

MSR Classics, MS 1188, all monophonic, 4 CDs, ADD
www.msrcd.com

______________________________________________

This is a most meaningful set for yours truly. I have known Leonard Pennario for many years and always considered him to be among the finest pianists during the heyday of his career. I have also had communication with Mr. Robert A. LaPorta, producer of this set for MSR Classics, and mentioned to him—once I knew this set was being produced—to be certain Pennario's first recording of "Midnight on the Cliffs" was included in this compilation. Fortunately it is! I heard Pennario play this in concert and it made a most indelible impression on yours truly. I still have Leonard's autographed Capitol LP that included this selection, an LP called "Fantasies."

These are not copies of LPs, but taken from Capitol Records' original master tapes with their permission. Sound quality for these mono recordings is supremely better than any of the original LPs that I compared and give new life to Pennario's incredible pianistic art.

I am still in the process of hearing the material and will report back on my findings, but you will see quite a contrast in repertoire here. There is even Pennario's Kerry Dance Variations, recorded in his home town of Buffalo, New York, a private recording apparently transferred from 78-rpm discs.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Febnyc
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Post by Febnyc » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:47 am

Pennario's Midnight on the Cliffs exists on a Cambria disc, included with a batch of film themes and variations thereon.

Midnight is a great work. A real Rachmaninoff-ian pot boiler - the inscription above the score should have been written by Bulwer-Lytton: "It was a dark and stormy night..."

lmpower
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Post by lmpower » Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:27 pm

I was told that Leonard Pennario graduated from my alma mater, Los Angeles High School. I only saw him once in recital in a Palm Springs community concert. It's sad that he is too old to play any more.

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Post by Lance » Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:46 pm

Febnyc wrote:Pennario's Midnight on the Cliffs exists on a Cambria disc, included with a batch of film themes and variations thereon.

Midnight is a great work. A real Rachmaninoff-ian pot boiler - the inscription above the score should have been written by Bulwer-Lytton: "It was a dark and stormy night..."
The one on CAMBRIA is Pennario's second (stereo) recording of "Midnight on the Cliffs." It was recorded in the 1990s I believe. The original Capitol release performance has a bit more fire and spontaneity (even though mono), and the rolling of the bass line to emulate the waves is more realistic. I have both and love them equally.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:58 pm

This is really a nice collection and I ordered it yesterday. Perhaps there will be a Volume 2 that includes his 2-disc Schumann box.

Thanks for mentioning this set (and the de Larrocha, which is on my wish list).

John

Lance
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Post by Lance » Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:08 am

CharmNewton wrote:This is really a nice collection and I ordered it yesterday. Perhaps there will be a Volume 2 that includes his 2-disc Schumann box.

Thanks for mentioning this set (and the de Larrocha, which is on my wish list).

John
I'm sure you will enjoy the 4-CD boxed set, John. As for Pennario's Schumann, perhaps you missed the EMI/Seraphim CD reissues ... they seemed to be short-lived and were the first CD transfers from master tapes:

[1] 69727 - Schumann: Kinderscenen, Papillons, Piano Sonata #1
[2] 69736 - Schumann: Carnaval. Also includes "favorites" by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Poulenc, Dohnányi, and Saint-Saëns.

—Lance
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

david gideon
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midnight on the cliffs

Post by david gideon » Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:07 am

Lance wrote:The one on CAMBRIA is Pennario's second (stereo) recording of "Midnight on the Cliffs." It was recorded in the 1990s I believe.
Actually the Cambria is his third recording of Midnight. He made another one on Capitol for piano and orchestra, with Les Baxter conducting. That's on a really obscure LP called "Dream Rhapsody". I recall the surprised look on his face when I presented it to him for an autograph!

Lance
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Re: midnight on the cliffs

Post by Lance » Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:30 pm

david gideon wrote:
Lance wrote:The one on CAMBRIA is Pennario's second (stereo) recording of "Midnight on the Cliffs." It was recorded in the 1990s I believe.
Actually the Cambria is his third recording of Midnight. He made another one on Capitol for piano and orchestra, with Les Baxter conducting. That's on a really obscure LP called "Dream Rhapsody". I recall the surprised look on his face when I presented it to him for an autograph!
Oddly, I am unfamiliar with Pennario's "Dream Rhapsody" LP. Was it a Capitol release? Can you advise me of the catalogue number? Was it recorded in stereo? The only other orchestral version of "Midnight on the Cliffs" that I'm aware of appeared on a Naxos CD, 8.554323, "Warsaw Concerto and Other Works" with Philip Fowke, pianist. The Naxos disc also contains the "Spellbound Concerto."
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

david gideon
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2003 12:26 pm

Post by david gideon » Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:01 pm

I misremembered the name of the album. The LP was entitled "Midnight on the Cliffs", and it's primarily a Les Baxter LP. But Pennario plays on the title track, as well as on "Dream Rhapsody" (an arrangement of the middle movement of the Franck symphony). It also came out on a 45 rpm that coupled the two Pennario items. I could tell you more if I could lay my hands on my copy, but apparently it's misfiled somewhere.

Here's an ebay listing that includes a photo:

http://tinyurl.com/yv3vbr

CharmNewton
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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:10 pm

Post by CharmNewton » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:59 pm

Lance wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:This is really a nice collection and I ordered it yesterday. Perhaps there will be a Volume 2 that includes his 2-disc Schumann box.

Thanks for mentioning this set (and the de Larrocha, which is on my wish list).

John
I'm sure you will enjoy the 4-CD boxed set, John. As for Pennario's Schumann, perhaps you missed the EMI/Seraphim CD reissues ... they seemed to be short-lived and were the first CD transfers from master tapes:

[1] 69727 - Schumann: Kinderscenen, Papillons, Piano Sonata #1
[2] 69736 - Schumann: Carnaval. Also includes "favorites" by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Poulenc, Dohnányi, and Saint-Saëns.

—Lance
Yes, I have these. :) I have too many CDs.

John

Lance
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Post by Lance » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:38 pm

A copy of the Capitol LP [T843, mono] arrived today, which includes pianist Leonard Pennario playing his own Midnight on the Cliffs (also the title of this LP) with Les Baxter, his chorus and orchestra. Interesting to hear, but at times the piano gets lost in the orchestra, and the chorus's inclusion seems tacky. The other surprise was Pennario at the piano in Dream Rhapsody, the tune based on a melody from César Franck's Symphony in D Minor. Nice orchestral arrangement with Pennario at the piano. Again, the chorus I could do without.

The liner notes state: " ... Leonard Pennario is the piano soloist with the Baxter orchestra (as he was on the film soundtrack) and he is featured at the STEINWAY in the closing Dream Rhapsody track ...". It's odd that Capitol would print that because Pennario was a BALDWIN artist for many years and especially when this recording was made. He switched his allegiance to Steinway many years later. (I'm always intrigued by this kind of information!) I don't know how I could have missed this LP, but I'm delighted, of course, to have these Pennario selections to add to my collection.

Another point of interest: NO WHERE on the cover of this LP does Pennario's name appear as "guest pianist" (he is, after all only in two tracks). I'm sure if Pennario's name was on the cover, it might have done much to promote this LP when originally issued. Then, too, Capitol did "borrow" the name of Pennario's "Midnight on the Cliffs" for the title of the recording. It is only on the back jacket notes is Pennario's name mentioned. Bad publicizing of a recording by Capitol, IMHO.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

CharmNewton
Posts: 1926
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:10 pm

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:42 pm

Listening to the first disc of this set, I find Pennario a superb Chopin interpreter. Clarity of line and judicious use of rubato mark his playing (Robert Casadesus also had an unfussy way with Chopin). And the sound of the piano in the August, 1952 recording of the Waltzes has a beguiling sweetness with ringing and colorful high notes (it sounds brighter and sweeter than the later Sonata No. 2 that opens the disc). In the past I've found it difficult to just sit and listen to all of the Waltzes, but Pennario sounds spiontaneous without pulling the music apart.

John

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