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Leonard Pennario at Carnegie Hall

Here you will find links to magazine and mass media advertising, reviews of his recordings and live performances, copies of interviews he has given, and descriptions of some of his own compositions.

Leonard as Composer Career Signposts  From the Internet Part1 Part2 Part 3
Andrew Porter Review 1952 The Tradition Continues  From the Media
Quotes from the Critics WW-II Interviews and Stories NY Programs and Concert Notes
 Leonard and Miklós Rózsa  Leonard and Henri Temianka

Contemporary Music

An artist has a duty to play the music of his time and his country.  Even a cursory scan of his recordings would show that Pennario has discharged this duty admirably. On his very first record he performed Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives. A work by a still living composer which had never been recorded before.
This theme will recur throughout his career. He was the first, other than Rachmaninoff himself, to record all four of the composer's piano concertos. He was the first to record several of Miklós Rózsa's works. He stated in an interview in 1976 that he had recorded everything George Gershwin wrote for the piano. He was the first to record Gottschalk. Not only that, he uncovered previously uncataloged works of Gottschalk in the Library of Congress and recorded them.
He also performed the Ginastera Sonata in concert, before the music was even available in North America. His playing was so dazzling that it inspired T. Morse to learn the piece as a teen-ager. Sadly he never go the chance to record it.

Ravel was as close in time to Pennario, as John Lennon is to someone born in the 60's. Pennario was the first one to discover, play in public, and record Ravel's piano version of La Valse. For many years it was a "signature piece", his alone. No one else had the nerve to play it. He played contemporary pieces, and he brought to their performance the same artistic integrity that he brought to Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti, and Beethoven.

Classical Repertoire

His concerts were always given with the audience in mind. Accordingly he programmed Beethoven, Scarlatti, Brahms, and Mozart along with the Romantic and Contemporary pieces. The Brahms I have enjoyed the most in live performance was when Leonard played the three intermezzi.
I have a recording of a live performance of Mozart's Coronation Concerto; the slow movement dramatically illustrates the Pennario tone, variously described as 'pearly' or 'lustrous'. Nothing was beyond him, technically or artistically; he has given his last performance; the records and CD's do not compensate for the lack. I miss him.