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Typed letter signed to fellow composer Peter Mennin, August 11, 1960.  He writes on Elkan-Vogel Co. stationary, where he was Director of Publications from 1952 until its’ sale to Theodore Presser in 1970.

Persichetti writes to his fellow Pennsylvania native composer:

August 11, 1960

Mr. Peter Mennin

120 W. 11th Street

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Dear Pete:

I picked up a copy of the SONATA CONCERTANTE here in Philadelphia. I remembered the work as an excellent one, warm and exciting first rate stuff.

I was surprised when I looked at the printed version—it is better than I had remembered.

As ever……

Persichetti (1915-1987) was born in Philadelphia.  He was enrolled at the age of 5 at the Combs Conservatory of Music and began performing his own works by the age of 11.  He earned his Bachelors, Masters and PhD at the Curtis Institute studying conducting with Fritz Reiner, piano with Olga Samaroff and composition with Paul Nordoff.  He also worked with Roy Harris for two Summers.  While earning his Masters degree in 1941, he also headed the theory and composition department there.  He was appointed professor at Julliard in 1947 and was made Chair of the Composition department in 1963.  He was very close with the Julliard Presidents William Schumann and Peter Mennin and convinced both to write music for wind ensembles. As a composer, Persichetti was extremely prolific, writing music for orchestra, including 9 symphonies and assorted smaller works, chamber works, solo works for a variety of instruments, band music, choral music, songs and solo keyboard works for piano, harpsichord and organ.  He also wrote a series of musical “parables” for a variety of solo instruments and small instrumental configurations.

Mennin (1923-1983) was from Erie Pennsylvania.  He was greatly influenced by Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers while at Eastman.  He remarkably wrote 6 symphonies before the age of 30 and concentrated on smaller scale works into his 40’s. (He wrote 3 more symphonies in later years.)  The Sonata Concertante for violin and piano was written in 1959 when the composer was 36 and published by Carl Fischer. It was well received and described as joyous and ebullient despite its’ adagio first movement. At the time this letter was written he was the Director of the Peabody Conservatory.  He had been commissioned by the Iowa State University Music Department to write a Piano Concerto at this time which speaks to why the letter was sent to him in Iowa.

Interesting content and association.  Unusual for composers to be this complimentary of others works.

 

VINCENT PERSICHETTI  - COMPOSER
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