Lorenzo Perosi Piano Quintets let everyone in on the fun

Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi was the Perpetual Director of the Sistine Choir. As such, he was in charge of liturgical music for the Pope. But Perosi’s talent extended beyond the walls of the Vatican.
He was part of the Giovane Scuola (“young school”). This early 20th Century group of young composers redefined Italian music. Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncavallo were colleagues with Perosi.

As a cleric, Perosi didn’t consider opera an appropriate genre to write for. But that was the only exception. Perosi did compose a great deal of sacred music, but he also wrote instrumental works as well. And in Italy, Perosi is a familiar name in concert halls.

Perosi was a talented pianist as well as a composer. In 1931, was talking with his friend Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. He explained that, after 16 string quartets, he wanted to write piano quintets, “so I can play too.”

And these quintets do sound fun to play. Perosi had a natural facility for lyrical melody. The quintets both seem to sing. And it seems like the piano parts are especially juicy. I guess Perosi indeed wanted to get in on the fun.

The Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble has a good ensemble blend. Their playing meshes well with pianist Matteo Bevilacqua. Perosi never wrote operas, but his music has that Italianate operatic quality to it.

Also included is the String Trio No. 2 in A minor from 1928. Like the quintets, the melodies are gorgeous.

If you’re not familiar with this Italian master, this is a good place to start. Perosi was a cleric, but his music was not completely bound by his religion. There’s a lot of his work to explore, but these quintets will give you the essence of his talent.

Lorenzo Perosi: Piano Quintets Nos. 1 and 2
String Trio No. 2
Matteo Bevilacqua, piano
Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble

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