Album Review: DAVID KOREVAAR: (Luigi Perrachio’s Nine Little Poems and 25 Preludi)

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by Connor McCormick on November 21, 2020

in CD-DVD,Music


What a find this new album is — and the composer had better be a household name after this. The prolific David Korevaar’s world premiere recording of piano music by Italian impressionist composer Luigi Perrachio (1883-1966) is now available. The two works on the album, recorded for the first time, are Nove Poemetti (Nine Little Poems,1917/1920) and 25 Preludi (25 Preludes, 1927). You will discover that Perrachio — composing in the Ravel/Debussy “impressionistic” style — may be fairly unknown but not because he lacked genius. When Debussy wanted to express the “immutable aspect of the sky and the slow, solemn motion of the clouds” with Nuages, this is what Perrachio exquisitely creates in his works. But here we get swirling wind, twittering birds and, later, storms. This music is the closest to the most stirring works of Debussy that I have ever heard. And the way that Korevaar handles the whisper-level, tranquil pianissimo and glittery runs is remarkable.

From Mr. Korevaar: “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 25 Preludi, composed almost a decade after the Poemetti, have a more muscular and neoclassical sound, but are still immediately appealing to the listener.

“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.'”

Luigi Perrachio: Nove Poemetti; 25 Preludi
World Premiere Recordings
34 tracks | 74:78 | released October 21, 2018
available at Amazon

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