Pietro Alessandro Yon born close to Turin in Settimo Vittone on August the 8th 1866. In spring 1907 he moved to United States where he soon become one of the most famous organists; in 1920 he contributed with Courboin and whit the well known director Leopold Stokowski to a memorable concert on Philadelphia’s pipe-organ, presenting his ‘Gregorian Concert’ for organ and orchestra.
Yon gained American citizenship in 1921 and in 1926 he become organ assistant by St. Patrick Cathedral in New York and in 1928 he got nominated responsible for the music. In United States Yon found very different aesthetic inputs and more importantly pipe-organs that he could have just dreamed about in Europe. Therefore he managed to successfully adapt his skills as player and composer to the magniloquent and spectacular American taste. For this reason Yon is considered one of the most influential “American” composers of the 20th century along with Barber, Parker and Sowerby.
The Gregorian Concert is one of his masterpieces. Conceived for organ and orchestra was later on published for organ solo and organ with piano. Was firstly released in 1920 from J. Fisher & Brothers in New York.
During his stay in United States, Yon got in contact with the copious Sicilian community of New York and for them he composed pieces like: Il Natale in Sicilia (Christmas in Sicily) and Cornamusa Siciliana. These two compositions transfigure Sicilian musical forms in a modern key. Compositions like Gesù Bambino and Marche Pastorale also recall themes from Sicilian tradition, even if in a less-explicit way.
Lastly the American Rhapsody is the homage to the land that housed Yon and made his fortune.
|1||Concerto Gregoriano||Introduzione e Allegro||[10’ 16’’]|
|5||Christmas in Sicily||[5’ 44’’]|
|6||Gesù Bambino||[6’ 20’’]|
|7||Marche Pastorale||[2’ 52’’]|
|8||Cornamusa siciliana (Sicilian Bagpipe)||[4’ 01’’]|
|9||American Rhapsody||[13’ 25’’]|