Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Friday, June 16

The diverting Mr. Persichetti

Synopsis

If you're a baby boomer who played in a high school or college band, you'll probably remember the "Divertimento for Band" by the American composer, Vincent Persichetti, music that premiered on today's date in 1950, with the composer conducting the Goldman Band.

Persichetti didn't envision his "Divertimento" as a band work, per se. At the start, it was just some woodwind figures accentuated by brass and percussion. When Persichetti realized that violins and cellos just didn't seem to fit in the picture, "Divertimento" began to take shape in his mind as a work for winds, brass and percussion alone.

Persichetti went on to write a dozen more compositions for concert band. These pieces quickly entered the repertory of the thousands of high school and college bands that sprang up across the country in the years following World War II, institutions peopled by baby boomers, who, like Pesichetti's band compositions, were born in the 1950s and 60s.

Beyond his works for band, Persichetti was a prolific composer of keyboard, chamber and orchestra pieces. He once claimed that since musical ideas often came to him in his car, he liked to tape a piece of music paper to his steering wheel, so he could jot down ideas and keep his eyes on the road at the same time.

Luckily for other residents of his hometown of Philadelphia, this apparently didn't result in any head-on collisions—but kids, don't try this at home!

Music Played in Today's Program

Vincent Persichetti (1915 - 1987) Divertimento North Texas Wind Symphony; Eugene Migliaro Corporon, cond. Klavier 11124

Additional Information

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