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La Valse Recording Astonishes - 1954

Dared Alone 1954

Pennario: He dared it alone
"Ravel's great orchestral suite, La Valse , is a brilliant study of the composer's own disillusionment. It is also magnificent music. But because it is so intricately scored, playing it has become a merciless test of an orchestra's competence.
If 100 piece orchestras have trouble expressing La Valse (and they do) what pianist would dare go it alone? First, it would take a genius to score such a work for single piano. Then another genius to play it properly.

Imagine the astonishment, then, that greeted pianist Leonard Pennario's new Capitol recording of La Valse -- from a score for single piano by Ravel himself.

Pennario, probably the most gifted and certainly the most respected young American pianist, sought out Ravel's original French publishers to unearth the score that had been "overlooked' for 40 years. His delight was in the challenge.

Your delight will be in the performance when you hear it. Delight and possibly awe.

"Immensely complicated and difficult, (La Valse) requires a superhuman technique and considerable musical elegance. For Pennario's performance, nothing but praise. An extremely impressive example of piano-playing all around."
-Harold C. Schonberg in his book "Chamber and Solo Instrumental Music"