Author Topic: The Barber Chair  (Read 25461 times)

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Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2008, 04:51:19 AM »
He looks like a chimp man (his left arm) because of the contrast on the photo!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:05:13 PM by Guido »
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gomro

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2008, 02:15:48 AM »
I've been listening to quite a bit of Samuel Barber lately and I don't think we have a thread going for him yet (or at least I've been unable to find one). I did go back and re-read the Barber thread on the old board and I think there's still a lot more that can be said about his music. I just discovered his piano concerto, and the slow movement now ranks among my favorites, second only to Knoxville: Summer of 1915 which has been mentioned by many as their top Barber piece. I also admire his violin concerto and wonder if anyone can recommend their favorite recordings. I have the Isaac Stern version with Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.

I've barely heard any Barber -- you can name the pieces, I'm sure -- but the title of this thread is the best one ever, as all these goofy titles go.

Offline Christo

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2008, 05:52:25 PM »
That Schippers CBS/Sony CD is great, I sought it out today. There was a v good David Measham Unicorn compilation, now on Regis, with a fine Symphony 1 and my own favourite Second Essay for Orchestra which is perhaps my favourite work by Barber, the last section is marvellous; a wonderfully inspiriting score.
`

Seconded, indeed everything you write!
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2008, 12:50:34 PM »
`

Seconded, indeed everything you write!

 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2008, 10:54:02 PM »
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

karlhenning

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2008, 06:03:28 AM »
Posthumous Barber premiere!

(Well, all right, it was performed once in 1928 . . . .)

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2008, 08:49:41 AM »
I wish I could have heard it! Hopefully someone will record it, and that To Longwood Gardens sounds very interesting too.
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karlhenning

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2008, 01:31:24 PM »
A minor work, of course, but the Summer Music for Woodwind Quintet is lovely.

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2008, 05:58:22 PM »
So incredibly beautiful. I wouldnt say it was that minor really - it is brilliantly thought out, beautifully and imaginatively written, pithy and concise, but substantial enough to be satisfying too. Surely one of the best pieces in this genre (though I concede that within Barber's oevre it does not occupy the heights of say, Vanessa, the cello and piano concertos, Prayers of Kierkegaard etc. but it doesn't try to).
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 06:02:00 PM by Guido »
Geologist.

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karlhenning

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2008, 06:01:01 PM »
So incredibly beautiful. I wouldnt say it was that minor really - it is brilliantly thought out, beautifully and imaginatively written, pithy and concise, but substantial enough to be satisfying too. Surely one of the best pieces in this genre (wind quintet).

It answers to all your praise here.  I only mean minor in that it's but eleven minutes long.  I don't intend the quintet any slight  8)

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2008, 06:03:30 PM »
Fine!  ;D

There are few composer I am as passionate about, so watch out!  $:)
Geologist.

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karlhenning

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2008, 04:30:20 AM »
Besides, we can't have flame-wars over at the Outpost anymore  ;)

Barber is one case, anyway, where his Violin Concerto is better than his Cello Concerto  ;)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2008, 05:04:47 AM »
Besides, we can't have flame-wars over at the Outpost anymore  ;)

Barber is one case, anyway, where his Violin Concerto is better than his Cello Concerto  ;)

I first got to know the Barber Violin Concerto in an ancient World Record Club LP-which itself was a reincarnation of a Westminster recording-played by Robert Gerle(who he?) with the 'Vienna State Opera Orchestra' conducted by Robert Zeller. Hm...I wonder?The coupling was the Delius Violin Concerto.

I thought then-I was about 17 at the time-that the Barber was the most beautiful, sad music I had ever heard and played that concerto, especially the slow movement, over and over again :) The Delius didn't get much of a look in(sorry Johan!)

karlhenning

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2008, 05:09:33 AM »
The Violin Concerto is truly a beauty, Colin.  I was teasing Guido a bit, though . . . fact is, I haven't really made the acquaintance of the Cello Concerto to the degree I have that for violin, so I really couldn't offer such a "judgement."

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2008, 10:34:42 AM »
I adore both works of course and they occupy rather different niches. The violin concerto is of course a relatively youthful work, so is perhaps not as subtle as the cello concerto, but is just as beautiful. The cello concerto suffers from being excrutiatingly difficult to play - so that a) it gets very few outings compared to its standing as a masterpiece and b) often people play it as if it is a virtuoso show piece when they do, which really doesn't suit it - this is a very serious, powerful score, but is chiefly lyrical - too often it is played clipped and staccato a la Shostakovich - I hate saying that Barber was a conservative or just a romantic, as I really think he had his own sort of modernism even if it wasn't terribly radical, but the lyrical aspect of his music is surely one of chief qualities, and is one of the things that he had few peers with in America at that time, let alone the world. The only truly satisfying recording of the cello concerto I have found, as I have said many times on this forum, is Wendy Warner's on Naxos... one of my all time favourite recordings of anything (and one of my all time favourite pieces of course). Even some very famous cellists don't convince me in this piece.
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Offline Christo

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2008, 10:52:17 AM »
I hate saying that Barber was a conservative or just a romantic, as I really think he had his own sort of modernism even if it wasn't terribly radical, but the lyrical aspect of his music is surely one of chief qualities, and is one of the things that he had few peers with in America at that time, let alone the world.

Two statements in one sentence I completely agree with: Barber was quite `modern' in many respects and the occasional commentary that he doesn't differ at all from Brahms, is completely mistaken. Your second statement is the very reason I've been loving his music since my teens: his unique lyrical voice that is always there, wether in extremis, as in Knoxville, Summer of 1915 or indeed the two concertos you just mentioned, or more constrained, as in many pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. It's his lyricism that makes him unique and incomparable to any other composer I know.  :)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2008, 04:14:08 PM by Christo »
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2008, 03:04:21 PM »
Asbolutely! I think that he is sometimes dismissed unfairly because of this gift actually - as just a melodist or just a romantic. Needless to say, he deserves much better than this.

For some reason, despite loving virtually everything in his oevre it has taken me a long time to fully 'get' and love Andomache's Farwell, though that has just clicked - proof, if proof was needed, that he didn't 'loose it' after Antony and Cleopatra.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2008, 03:33:52 PM »
Just finished going through my Barber collection(eg 2 versions of the piano concerto and of the cello concerto and 4 of the violin concerto) but one CD I came across which I had forgotten and doesn't seem to have been mentioned here is a coupling of "The Lovers" for baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra and 'The Prayers of Kierkegaard' for soprano, mixed chorus and orchestra(Chicago SO/Andrew Schenck). Schenck was something of Barber specialist-I seem to have most of the Barber output conducted by him-before his death at a tragically young age.

Do you know that CD?

Offline Guido

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2008, 06:18:56 PM »
I do. It the only recording of the Lovers as far as I know. I don't have access to his reording of the Prayers of Kiekegaard, but needless to say I think this work is extremely fine and Barber considered it to be one of his own best works (It is certainly one of his most personal.) - he seems to have regarded it as a summation of his religious views and attitudes - which he was usuall extremely private about, even with friends.

The Lovers I have more problems with and it may be my least favourite of the large scale works* which is not to say that there is not much to enjoy. For me, it just doesn't seem to hang together quite as well as the other large scale works, nor is it as memorable as his work usually is. That said, the movement "Tonight I can write the saddest lines" in particular is extremely moving, and the racy nature of many of the texts is certainly something to get excited about! The controversy it aroused tickled him no end - he was a wry character. By this time (1970), Barber was seriously old-fashioned sounding of course, and this is hardly one of his more modern sounding scores as it is. It's still a fascinating work.

*really not a slight!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2008, 06:34:10 PM by Guido »
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: The Barber Chair
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2008, 07:42:45 PM »
Sorry. when you say that you "don't have access" to the Prayers of Kierkegaard does that mean that you don't have a recording?

(I could make it available to you if that were to be the case.)