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Vincent Persichetti: Works For Band / Steele, Illinois State University Wind Symphony

Persichetti / Isuws / Steele
Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1253  
Composer:  Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Anyone who has played in a high school or college band/wind ensemble, or has attended the concerts of such, has likely encountered the music of Vincent Persichetti, one of the foremost composers of American wind band music. This disc contains a selection of his most often-performed works in vibrant renditions by the Illinois State University Wind Symphony under Stephen K. Steele's direction. Listeners unfamiliar with his music can think of Walter Piston meets William Schuman to get an idea of Perschetti's style.

The program begins with lighter fare, the colorful and diverse Divertimento for Band, and proceeds through the more dramatic Mascarade. Symphony for Band, Persichetti's most famous work, is in four standard though
Read more quite brief movements (with a dramatic, slow first-movement introduction) that reflect the hallmarks of the composer's method--bright, clean timbres, angular harmonies, lively rhythms, and overall motivic ingenuity.

Psalm for band begins as a quiet prayer, then transforms into a jubilant celebration in its second half. Last comes Parable IX, one of Persichetti's most challenging works--not only for performers (he made notes in the score allowing for substitutions in certain parts if the players could not meet the demands), but also for audiences. The limited tonal resources the composer allowed himself gives the music a gray, atonal cast that scarcely varies throughout its 16-minute duration. Even so, the Illinois State University Wind Symphony is clearly up to the challenge of the music, and meets it handsomely.

However, on a competing disc of exactly the same program the North Texas Wind Symphony and Cincinnati Wind Symphony, conducted by Eugene Migliaro Corporon, exceed the challenge and offer more compelling performances (especially the Symphony), recorded in brighter sound than Albany's more distant yet still excellent production. If you already have that recording (released by Gia Publications), or cannot find it, this Illinois University disc is a fine alternative.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Divertimento for Band, Op. 42 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; USA 
2.
Mascarade, Op. 102 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; USA 
3.
Pageant for Band, Op. 59 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
4.
Symphony no 6, Op. 69 "Symphony for Band" by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
5.
Psalm for Band, Op. 53 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
6.
Parable IX for Band, Op. 121 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Stephen K. Steele
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Illinois State University Wind Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 

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