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American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: P (Part 1–Persichetti, Vincent)

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Last week, when I started searching for a subject for this blog, nothing came to mind. Then I remembered that when my wife and I were in college, she learned a song based on a Dylan Thomas poem. The composer was Vincent Persichetti.

Born in Philadelphia on June 6, 1915, Persichetti began piano lessons at the age of five, music theory at eight, and had composed several works by the time he was fourteen. Later he studied with composer Roy Harris, as well as conductor Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute of Music.

In 1942 Persichetti began teaching, first at the Philadelphia Conservatory, later at Juilliard.  In addition, he was music editor for the Elkan-Vogel Music Company in Philadelphia. In 1954, he was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress for the composition Quintet, op. 66 for piano and strings.

His music is a blend of classical, romantic, and modern elements. He died on August 14, 1987.

We have a number of Persichetti’s works in braille, and a few in large print.  Here are some titles to whet your appetite, with links to the files that are on BARD:



Celebrations: Cantata No. 3 for Mixed Voices and Piano (BRM23342). For mixed voices SATB, wind ensemble, and piano accompaniment: vocal-piano score in line by line and bar over bar formats.

Sam Was a Man (BRM22881). For two-part chorus and piano in line by line and bar over bar formats.

Te Deum, op. 93 (BRM12463). For SATB chorus and orchestra in line by line format.

This Is the Garden (BRM22916). For SSA chorus a cappella and rehearsal piano in line by line and bar over bar formats.


Auden Variations, op. 136 (BRM29086). For organ in bar over bar format.

“Drop, Drop, Slow Tears,” Chorale Prelude (BRM30226). For organ in bar over bar format. Based on the composer’s “Chorale no. 13” from his Hymns and Responses for the Church Year.

Do Not Go Gentle (BRM28251). After a poem by Dylan Thomas. For organ (pedals only) in single line format.

Parable VI, op. 117 (BRM28200). For organ in bar over bar format.

Psalm 130 (Shimah B’koli) op. 89 (BRM28646). For organ in bar over bar format.

Sonata, op. 86 (BRM28199). For organ in bar over bar format.

Sonatine, op. 11 (BRM28327). For organ (pedals alone) in bar over bar format.


Little Piano Book, op. 60 (BRM24227). For piano in bar over bar format.

Poems for Piano, Vol. 2, op. 5 (BRM25099). For piano in bar over bar format.

Parades, op. 57 (BRM24010). For piano in bar over bar format.

Sonatinas Nos. 1-3 (BRM25713). For piano in bar over bar format.

Harris, Roy. Sonata no. 1 for piano, op. 1. (BRM23622). For piano in bar over bar format. As mentioned in this blog, Roy Harris was one of Persichetti’s composition teachers.

Piano Four hands

Serenade no. 8, op. 62 (BRM28612). For piano, four hands, in bar over bar format.


“I’m Nobody,” from Emily Dickinson Songs, op. 77, no. 2 (BRM28900). For voice and piano in single line and bar over bar formats.

Large print

Parades, op. 57 (LPM467). For piano.

Poems, Vol. 2. (LPM596). For piano.

We also have a textbook written by Persichetti:

Twentieth Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice (BRM30563). In contracted braille with bibliographies. Also available in large print (LPM511).

To borrow any of these titles, or if you have any questions about our Music Services, just call 800-424-8567, then press Option 2 for the NLS Music Section.

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