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Perillo: Chamber Music

Release Date: 09/27/2005 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 2739   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Stephen Perillo
Performer:  Yuval WaldmanRobin ZehOlga TerlitskyChagit Glaser,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I interviewed Steve Perillo (b. 1955) in the July/August 2002 issue of Fanfare . For those who hadn?t come aboard yet, a brief recap is in order. Readers in the northeastern United States might well know of ?Perillo Tours,? a family business that has helped American tourists visit Italy for three generations. As Centaur?s booklet notes put it, ?Perillo is a composer by night and the president of an international tour company . . . by day.? Upon admission into Boston University?s School of Music, he studied with composer David Del Tredici, who encouraged him to write tonally, using harmonic techniques in Read more use during the Classical and Romantic periods. It is no surprise then, that his music is approachable. In the composer?s words, ?My music is designed to transport you into my world upon one listening.? This is Perillo?s fourth commercial CD to be released by Centaur. The first, ?Requiem for a Goldfish,? came out in 1999, and the second and third, ?Perillo?s Magnificat and Other Choral Masterpieces? and ?Perillo?s Napoli!? both came out in 2001.

Perillo?s music made a good impression on me in 2002, and I have no reason to revise my opinion almost four years later. In fact, there seems to be more substance to his music this time around?not only does it still taste good, now it even sticks to your ribs! This isn?t just a developmental issue, though, because these are not new works. The Flute Sonata was composed in 1995, the Piano Trio in 1999 (obviously), and the String Quartet in 2001. (I can?t tell you about Out on a Limb , a work for solo violin, as it is not listed on Mr. Perillo?s Web site. Centaur?s unhelpful booklet has nothing at all to say about the music on this CD.)

There were many moments in the String Quartet when you could have convinced me that I was listening to Shostakovich, and that?s high praise indeed. Perillo can?t quite sustain the music?s quality, inspiration, or developmental course over 20 minutes, but he and the Russian master both speak in a voice that is alternately elegiac and rough, and both mean what they say. The Flute Sonata begins playfully, but with an off-kilter quality one might associate with Prokofiev or Poulenc. The middle movement is a gloomy waltz that takes off on a soaring melodic flight as it progresses. The finale is a brief, brilliant Rondo. Again, development isn?t Perillo?s forte, but his movements are short, so structural weaknesses don?t have enough time to become critical failures.

I may be way off base on this, but I hear allusions to lullabies in Out on a Limb (?when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall?). The title might simply be an allusion to the demands that the work places on the violinist. Perhaps both interpretations are correct. At the outset, the music is almost bluesy, but it soon gets spiky, even aggressive. Perillo keeps the tension going over the work?s seven-minute length. I liked the Piano Trio best of all. Again, Shostakovich?s own Piano Trio No. 2 might have been an inspiration, even down to the suggestions of klezmer music in the concluding Rondo. As with all the music on this CD, a high value is placed on tunefulness, but there is no sense of pandering to the listeners.

Centaur?s presentation is sloppy. The notes don?t even tell us which performers are playing what. In most cases, it?s obvious, but there?s no way to tell who is the violinist in the Piano Trio and in Out on a Limb . Even the disc?s total playing time is shortchanged by almost eight minutes on the inlay card. Fortunately, the performances all seem excellent, though Weiss?s flute tone probably would have been more attractive and not so buzzy if it hadn?t been so closely miked. (The CD sounds as if it were recorded in one of those tiny rehearsal rooms found in conservatories.)

Perillo deserves a big pat on the back for this one. He is a real composer, not a dabbler with a wad of dollars. If he could devote himself to composition full-time, who knows what he?d accomplish? We need more composers like him.

FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 1 by Stephen Perillo
Performer:  Yuval Waldman (Violin), Robin Zeh (Violin), Olga Terlitsky (Viola),
Chagit Glaser (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2004 
Venue:  Music Machine Studio, Hackensack, New Je 
Length: 18 Minutes 53 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Flute by Stephen Perillo
Performer:  Lauren Weiss (Flute), Paul Posnak (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2004 
Venue:  Music Machine Studio, Hackensack, New Je 
Length: 13 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3. Out on a Limb by Stephen Perillo
Performer:  Yuval Waldman (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2004 
Venue:  Music Machine Studio, Hackensack, New Je 
Length: 7 Minutes 37 Secs. 
4. Trio for Piano and Strings by Stephen Perillo
Performer:  Yuval Waldman (Violin), Paul Posnak (Piano), Chagit Glaser (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2004 
Venue:  Music Machine Studio, Hackensack, New Je 
Length: 17 Minutes 40 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1: I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 1: II. Scherzo
String Quartet No. 1: III. Fugatto
String Quartet No. 1: IV. Presto
Flute Sonata: I. Allegro
Flute Sonata: II. Adagio
Flute Sonata: III. Rondo brilliante
Out on a Limb
Piano Trio: I. Allegro
Piano Trio: II. Andante
Piano Trio: III. Rondo

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