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The Barber Chair

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--- Quote from: aligreto on October 10, 2021, 07:45:06 AM ---I have just finished listening to this collection of Barber's music under the baton of Alsop:

Cello Concerto:

On first listen to this version of this work and I was not convinced by the entire performance. I felt that the cellist, Warner, was a very capable cellist but that her presentation lacked warmth, lyricism and fluidity. Alsop does a good enough job with the orchestral accompaniment but the whole presentation feels just a bit laboured to me. The recording is made in a somewhat dry acoustic.

Medea Ballet Suite:

This is my first listen to this music. I really like this work. I like the musical language, the orchestration and the wonderful atmosphere of the work. All of these elements contribute to a mixed variety of drama, tension, atmosphere, power, excitement and lyricism to the music. I find the work to be most engaging. I have no other version to compare it with but it seems to me that this is a very fine presentation.

Adagio for Strings:

Even if you are not familiar with the music of Barber you will have heard this music somewhere. The emotional strength of the work is derived from the wonderful melodic lines, harmonies and counterpoint, all of which are basic building blocks in the foundation of a very solid and serene work. I like this version; it is not overly emotional, sentimental or saccharine.

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I definitely remember liking Medea, which I only know thanks to the Alsop series.


--- Quote from: Madiel on October 11, 2021, 09:28:39 PM ---I definitely remember liking Medea, which I only know thanks to the Alsop series.

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Me too - though I have a number of recordings of it.

Barber: I have finished listening to this CD and here are my thoughts and observations on its contents:

Capricorn Concerto: I like the musical language in this work. The orchestration, although often sparse, is very engaging and appealing. In terms of tone and atmosphere I particularly like the restless and agitated nature of the music throughout the work. The middle section of the slow movement, a trio-like passage is quite intriguing. I like the contrasting lift in tone in the final movement; the restlessness is still there but the atmosphere is somewhat lighter; the brass and woodwinds lead the way in this regard. I found this to be quite an absorbing and intriguing work.

A Hand of Bridge: I do not play Bridge and along with the other references in the participant’s monologues I was never engaged with this work at all. I do not like that style of writing for voice.

Mutations from Bach: This is a Chorale type composition with fairly obvious influences. It is short and it works for me.

Intermezzo from “Vanessa”: This is a short but an enchanting and very appealing and attractive melody that is very well orchestrated.

Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings: This is an enchanting and haunting piece of music. The musical language is rather straightforward and ostensibly simple but the writing and the scoring produce an almost other-worldly experience. It is melodically and harmonically very rich with a large element of poignancy which makes it very attractive and engaging. A wonderful musical composition.

Fadograph of a Yestern Scene: This is another intriguing and enchanting short work. Once again the apparent simplicity of the work and its musical language belies a much more profound overall effect. This is a wonderful work and presentation. There are great variations in dynamics, emotional swells and almost Holst-like mystical episodes and Alsop and forces give a wonderful account of this range.

I listened to the cello sonata last night on a somewhat random basis (Poltera/Stott recording). Most engaging.


--- Quote from: Madiel on November 05, 2021, 11:23:43 PM ---I listened to the cello sonata last night on a somewhat random basis (Poltera/Stott recording). Most engaging.

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Indeed, a wonderfully passionate and lyrical work from the young Barber. Come to think of it, I don't think there are any works by him that I'm not fond of - a remarkably consistent composer. Both symphonies, the 3 concerti, the 3 Essays, both operas (yes!), Music for a Scene from Shelley, Souvenirs, I could go on....


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