PERRACHIO: PIANO MUSIC
Nove Poemetti; 25 Preludi
DAVID KOREVAAR, piano
World Premiere Recordings
"...the two groupings offered by Korevaar are very definitely worthwhile...
They are carefully crafted and, at their best, thoroughly engaging – more than enough to captivate piano-music lovers and lead to a hope that Korevaar will uncover and record some larger-scale Perrachio music.
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [February 2019]
“A few of the nearly forgotten compositions of Italian pianist and teacher Luigi Perrachio have been revived through the devotion and pianism of David Korevaar... [Korevaar’s rendition of Nine Little Poems] reveals Perrachio lent to this genre his own distinct style fueled by his command of the entire keyboard and love of its sounds. An intensity that command’s one’s attention characterizes these pieces... This album keeps you alert and listening.”
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [February 2019]
“a musical epiphany”
(b. 28 May 1888, Turin; d. 6 September 1966, Turin)
A few years ago, when my colleague Laurie Sampsel and I were investigating the University of Colorado’s collection of scores from the library of the Catalan pianist Ricardo Viñes (1875-1943), I discovered an intriguing volume by a composer whose name I had never come across before: Nove Poemetti (Nine Little Poems) by Luigi Perrachio. What were evidently nine individually published pieces had been primitively bound together into a book—one assumes by the publisher—and presented to Viñes by the composer. While biographical details on Perrachio are scarce, it seems safe to assume that he encountered Viñes while in Paris in the 1910s, a trip that allowed him to immerse himself in, and fall in love with, the music of Debussy and Ravel, and to meet both of these composers and members of their circles. While the Poemetti reflect the influence of this exposure, Perrachio has his own distinctive voice, crafting a kind of Italian Impressionism. The Preludi, composed almost a decade after the Poemetti, have a more muscular and neoclassical sound, but are still immediately appealing to the listener.
Italian instrumental music was developing quickly in the early twentieth century, with composers like Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936), Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968), Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973), Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) all making their presence known on the international music scene by the 1920s. These and others were promoted by the musicologist Guido Gatti (1892-1973), who was an important advocate for Italian instrumental music at a time when the world still saw Italy primarily as a home for opera. He was also an early and life-long supporter and admirer of Luigi Perrachio.
Perrachio was born in Turin in 1883, the same year and city as Alfredo Casella. Gatti linked the two as the “generation of 1883” as a way of magnifying both composers’ importance. Perrachio initially was taught piano and cello by his father, an amateur musician, and then received the obligatory law degree from the University of Turin in 1908. Music called to him strongly, and he completed a degree in piano and composition in Bologna in 1913 after spending time in Vienna, where he worked with the Moravian pianist and composer Ignaz Brüll (1846-1907).
After a sojourn in Paris, he returned to Turin, where he established himself as a promoter of new music, founding a group known as the “Double Quintet of Turin” dedicated to presenting new works. In 1924, he published a small monograph on the piano works of Debussy. In 1925, he began teaching at the Liceo Musicale (now Conservatorio) of Turin, first piano, and later composition. He was an important mentor for a generation of Italian composers, continuing to teach at the Conservatorio until 1955. His deteriorating health led to almost complete immobility, but he continued to receive private students at his home until his death in 1966.
Today, Perrachio and his music are almost completely forgotten, although there are some recent scholarly articles in Italian, including a brief survey of his piano music by Attilio Piovano, and an album of recordings of music for harp. Why such neglect? As a composer, Perrachio seems to have suffered from undue modesty: he published only a small fraction of his work, and he was willing to do so only after significant arm-twisting from his supporters. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, in a review of the Nove Poemetti, begins, “Yes, it is decided, finally! Luigi Perrachio has published some of his piano pieces: more compelled by the affectionate pressures of his friends than by the impulse of his own will.”
Some years earlier, in 1918, Guido Gatti had written an enthusiastic encomium to Perrachio, which he prefaced with a statement that his readers would not have heard of the composer because he hadn’t actually published anything and no one was playing his music in public. Nonetheless, Gatti informed his readers that Perrachio’s music was amazing. I think Gatti was right: this is wonderful music, composed by a man with a distinctive and beautiful compositional voice and a mastery of the piano that comes through in vivid and colorful writing. These two works, recorded here for the first time, show two important facets of Perrachio’s style that he shared with other composers of the era: colorful impressionism in the Poemetti and lean neoclassicism in the Preludi.
performs a wide-ranging repertoire as soloist and chamber musician around the United States and internationally. His New York debut at Town Hall in 1985 was highly acclaimed, as was his London debut at Wigmore Hall and his German recital debut at the Heidelberg Spring Festival. Korevaar has also taught and performed at festivals and institutions around the United States, as well as in Europe, Japan, Brazil and Mexico. In the spring of 2016, he spent two weeks teaching in Kabul at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). He has also performed and taught in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan as a cultural envoy sponsored by the US State Department. His extensive discography of solo and chamber music reflects his interest and proficiency in a broad range of music, including recordings of works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Fauré, Ravel, Dohnányi and Hindemith. He has also recorded the complete piano music of American composer Lowell Liebermann. Korevaar currently holds the Peter and Helen Weil Fellowship in piano at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he has been named Distinguished Research Lecturer.
NOVE POEMETTI (1917/1920)
La notte dei morti
Danzatrici a Lesbo
25 PRELUDI (1927)
Allegretto, con grande delicatezza
Allegro non tanto
Largo con maestà
Molto lento, lugubre
Molto tranquillo e semplicissimo (I)
Molto tranquillo e semplicissimo (II)
Alla Marcia, svelto
Lento, a capriccio