LEONARD PENNARIO - COMPLETE RCA RECORDINGS
American pianist Leonard Pennario (1924 - 2008) had the misfortune of being somewhat overshadowed by Van Cliburn's Moscow triumph. Still, he had a fine career, made numerous recordings, gave many concerts and appeared often with major orchestras. A prodigy,he first came to notice when he performed Grieg's Piano Concerto at age 12, with the Dallas Symphony.When the scheduled soloist cancelled, Pennario told Goossens he knew the concerto well—actually he had never heard it and had to learn it in just 10 days, which he did. He enlisted in the U. S. Air Force and gave countless concerts for members of the armed services. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1943 with Artur Rodzinski Liszt Concerto No. 1.He had enlisted in the U S. Air Force, and played the concert in uniform. Shortly after Rachmaninoff's death in 1943, Dimitri Mitropouos chose Pennario as soloist at a memorial concert playing Concerto No. 2. The Russian composer always played an important party in Pennario's career; he recorded all four concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody. Pennario had a close association with Miklós Rózsa, who wrote a piano concerto for him, a work that has now become obscure, which cannot be said of the composer's Spellbound Concerto written for the film of the same name, a display piece for piano and orchestra that has been recorded many times. Beginning in 1963, Pennario recorded a number of chamber works with his stellar associates, violinist Jascha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky For the Franck Quintet they were joined by Israel Baker,, violin, and William Prtimrose, viola. First class performances throughout. Audio on these RCA reissues is uniformly of high quality. Each disk has its own cardboard jacket with covers of original LP releases, and program notes. Keep in mind that prior to his RCA association, Pennario made numerous recordings fort other labels including concertos of Khachaturian, Liszt, Grieg and the third cocertos of Prokofiev, Bartok and Rachmani, and many solo recordings s well. Pennario had other strengths: he was a long-time Life Master at Contract Bridge, quite an achievement in itself.
R.E.B. (May 2019)