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Leonard Pennario: Complete RCA Album Collection


Release Date: 02/08/2019 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 19075899272  
Composer:  Sergei RachmaninovCésar FranckHenry Charles LitolffFranz Liszt,   ... 
Performer:  Leonard PennarioJascha HeifetzGregor Piatigorsky
Conductor:  Arthur FiedlerAndré PrevinRené LeibowitzSeiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston PopsRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 12 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

“Nobody plays the piano better than Leonard Pennario,” wrote the eminent critic Andrew Porter in London’s New Statesman in 1952, when the competition would have included none less than Horowitz in his prime. That year, Pennario began recording for Capitol Records in Los Angeles, and a decade later he moved to RCA Victor, for which label he made a series of distinguished albums. To mark the tenth anniversary of Pennario’s death, Sony Classical is now pleased to reissue all of the pianist’s RCA recordings together for the first time in a single box.

Born in 1924 in Buffalo, New York, Pennario gave his first public performance there at the age of seven, later moving with his family to Los Angeles, where his teachers included the
Read more legendary Isabella Vengerova. His breakthrough came in 1936, when he made his orchestral debut deputizing for an indisposed soloist with the Dallas Symphony. On that memorable occasion, the twelve-year-old performed the Grieg Piano Concerto, a work he had never heard, let alone played, until a few days earlier.

Dazzling concertos would, of course, feature prominently in Pennario’s discography, and his first RCA Victor releases in 1964 included Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Franck Symphonic Variations with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops (High Fidelity: “immense dexterity and bravura”) and the two Liszt concertos with René Leibowitz conducting the London Symphony (Gramophone: “magisterial accounts of both works … it is a constant delight to listen to his effortless brilliance and power … vivid ‘hi-fi’ recording”).

Among the acclaimed solo recital albums in this set are a collection of popular short pieces by Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, Grieg, Falla, Debussy, Gershwin and Rachmaninoff which Pennario plays “with admirable care and impeccable taste” (High Fidelity) as well as both books of Debussy Préludes: “This is a most beautifully played set” (Gramophone).

Although Pennario became best known as a formidable virtuoso, he was also renowned for his performances of chamber music, and RCA documents his participation in the famous series given by Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. Their performance of the Mendelssohn C minor Piano Trio was praised by High Fidelity for its “conception of restraint and grandeur … consistently maintained throughout all four movements”, and in the coupling of cello sonatas by Mendelssohn and Strauss, wroteGramophone, “Pennario plays admirably, matching Piatigorsky’s forceful musical characterization.”

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REVIEW:

A notable characteristic of Pennario’s playing is his extraordinary articulation at extreme speed. As examples of transcendent technique and breathtaking clarity, the two Rachmaninov transcriptions on Disc 2 are hard to beat.

One could hardly complain about the quality of music-making here, yet without exception the piano could have been more forwardly placed. Was he too self-effacing for stardom? Too modest for his own good? Moot points, but Leonard Pennario demands to be heard, reassessed and, on this evidence alone, admitted to the piano Hall of Fame.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; USA 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G minor, Op. 40 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926/1941; USA 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891/1917; Russia 
4.
Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46 by César Franck
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
5.
Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, M 7 by César Franck
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1879; France 
6.
Concerto symphonique for Piano no 4 in D minor, Op. 102 by Henry Charles Litolff
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1852; France 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in A major, S 125 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  René Leibowitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839/1861; Weimar, Germany 
8.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E flat major, S 124 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  René Leibowitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849/1856; Weimar, Germany 
9.
Préludes, Book 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
10.
Préludes, Book 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
11.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
12.
Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, AV 85 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1886; Germany 
13.
Sonata for Cello and Piano in F major, Op. 6 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1883; Germany 
14.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C minor, Op. 66 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Germany 
15.
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in D major, Op. 58 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
16.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in D minor, Op. 32 by Anton Arensky
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Russia 
17.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1, Op. 35 by Joaquin Turina
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Spain 
18.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 6 in E flat major, Op. 70 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1882; Austria 
20.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in F minor, Op. 65/B 130 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Jascha Heifetz (Violin), Leonard Pennario (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Bohemia 
21.
Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Transcription of Mendelssohn's "Scherzo" from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for piano, TN iii/7 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1933 
23.
Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesleid" for piano, TN iii/5 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1921 
24.
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 4, Polichinelle in F sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
25.
Morceaux (7) de salon, Op. 10: no 5, Humoresque in G major by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1894; Russia 
26.
Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust", S 407 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1861; Weimar, Germany 
27.
Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns), S 555 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Rome, Italy 
28.
Age of Gold Suite: Polka for Piano, Op 22b by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USSR 
29.
Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33a: March by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919/1924; USA 
30.
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
31.
Humoresques (8) for Piano, Op. 101/B 187: no 7 in G flat major by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Bohemia 
32.
Morceaux (6) for Piano, Op. 19: no 2, Scherzo humoristique in D major by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Russia 
33.
Morceaux (2) for Piano, Op. 10: no 2, Humoresque by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Russia 
34.
The Seasons, Op. 37a: November: On the Troika by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
35.
Children's Corner: no 6, Golliwogg's Cake-walk by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
36.
Preludes (3) for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
37.
Moments musicaux (6) for Piano, D 780/Op. 94: no 3 in F minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823-1828; Vienna, Austria 
38.
Bagatelle for Piano in A minor, WoO 59 "Für Elise" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
39.
Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43: no 6, In Springtime by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Norway 
40.
Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43: no 1, Butterfly by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Norway 
41.
Piezas Españolas (4) for Piano: no 4, Andaluza by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1908; Spain 
42.
Soirées à Saint-Pétersbourg, Op. 44: no 1, Romance in E flat major by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Russia 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Not what I expected October 19, 2019 By Gregory  Carlson (Marshall, VA) See All My Reviews "It may be my fault for not looking at the list of music before I ordered it. Leonard Pennario was probably the first pianist I can remember growing up. He was on the radio all the time (MPLS/STP PBS), with the Hollywood Bowl. So much of what showed up was chamber music with a violinist and/or cellist - definitely not my cup of tea. I took advantage of several discs having problems playing and returned them. From now on I will be more careful to look more closely at the music list." Report Abuse
 LEONARD PENNARIO April 10, 2019 By LECLERCQ DIDIER (CANNES, FRANCE) See All My Reviews "Leonard PENNARIO was my favourite pianist when I was 15 (that was in 1958). Owing to his recordings at the time, I could listen to him playing with the "HOLLYWOOD BOWL ORCHESTRA", (Concertos under the stars) of which I bought a reproduction from ARKIV.CD in 2018 approximately. I more than enjoyed the possibility offered by ARKIV.MUSIC to offer my ears (aged 75) the most fascinating recordings of wonderful works I ever heard. As a pianist myself, I keep those melodies deep in my heart. Thank you to you all from France." Report Abuse
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