Parable II for Brass Quintet Op. 108




Vincent Persichetti (1915 – 1987)

Composer Information

A lifelong Philadelphian, Persichetti was one of the most important American composers of his generation, and inspired countless young people through his compositions and his inspired teaching; he was on the faculty of the Juilliard School for forty years. Persichetti also toured the country as a guest lecturer. Despite all the demands on his time, he was able to compose prolifically. He gave over 120 works an opus number, and almost all his works were published as soon as he wrote them. Persichetti published 166 works in an enormously varied range of instrumentation, including orchestral, piano, choral, voice, chamber ensembles, and solo pieces. Awards and commendations were showered on Persichetti until his death in 1987.


Persichetti’s Parable series comprises twenty-five Parables, mostly for solo instruments in the period between 1965 –1986. Nineteen are for solo instruments, four are for chamber ensembles and none are for the same instrument or combination of instruments. About his Parabales Persichetti said,  “My Parables are misstated stories that avoid a truth in order to tell it. Parables are always ‘again’ even when they are new; they’re never ‘was’ or old. The Parables are non-programmatic musical essays…they are always in one movement, almost always about a single germinal idea. [My] Parables convey a meaning indirectly by the use of comparisons or analogies, and they are usually concerned with materials from my other works.”



Elkan-Vogal Co.





Ranking Position



Works for Brass Quintet by Brass Quintet München: Ludger Boeckenhoff, 2005.

Tubby's Revenge by New York Tuba Quartet & New York Brass Quintet: Crystal Records, 1976, 1978, 2011.


Types of Instruments/Mutes

2 C trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba. Mutes requirements are as follows:

Trumpet: Harmon, straight and cup mutes. Trombone: Straight and cup mutes. Horns need a mute but the tuba does not.

Final Considerations

Commissioned by the New York Brass Quintet in memory of Stephen and Audrey Currier, Persichetti’s Parable is quite demanding for the brass quintet. The challenges come from the technique required of the performers such as complex rhythms, endurance, meticulous attention to dynamics, voicing, timbral depth, making difficult parts interact neatly, making tense moments seem calm, and managing rapid change of moods, as well as, the mental commitment that must be made. The primary question to ask is, if the final experience of the performance justifies the time spent on the piece in rehearsal, the answer should be a resounding “yes!”. This piece is an admirable addition for brass aficionados’ repertoire.