The Barber Chair

Started by Szykneij, August 13, 2007, 06:50:40 AM

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aligreto

Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 18, 2022, 01:52:50 PM
I had forgotten just how cool a piece the First Symphony is, Fergus!

It surely is, Karl!

aligreto

Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard [Shaw]


https://www.youtube.com/v/j82VCzR5pyo


This is a very fine work. It contains many tones, moods and atmospheres. Orchestrally, it is well scored and the orchestral music is much more than an accompaniment to the vocal elements. There is fine music, drama, tension and interesting orchestral sonorities contained within it.
The vocal music element is also very engaging. It is lyrical in tone. The soloists all deliver their respective roles very well. However, the choir is the biggest success here, for me. They are really quite good, full sounding and well balanced.
The dynamic range of the work is quite extensive.

Karl Henning

Quote from: aligreto on August 11, 2022, 08:40:30 AM
Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard [Shaw]


https://www.youtube.com/v/j82VCzR5pyo


This is a very fine work. It contains many tones, moods and atmospheres. Orchestrally, it is well scored and the orchestral music is much more than an accompaniment to the vocal elements. There is fine music, drama, tension and interesting orchestral sonorities contained within it.
The vocal music element is also very engaging. It is lyrical in tone. The soloists all deliver their respective roles very well. However, the choir is the biggest success here, for me. They are really quite good, full sounding and well balanced.
The dynamic range of the work is quite extensive.


I need to revisit that piece!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

aligreto


KevinP

Prayers is very under-represented on CD. Strangely so, even. A quick look at Amazon suggests there are only two CDs in print containing this great work.


Madiel

Yes, options are very limited. But this is pretty much true of all works for choir and orchestra. It's a genre that has suffered very badly in modern times, compared to the huge popularity of choral singing back in the 19th century for example. Time and again when I get in deep with a major composer from the Romantic period or later, it's the choral works that are hardest to get.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Symphonic Addict

Quite impressed by this stupendous opera, its style grips with ease. It leaves a strong impression both vocally and how effective the composer used the orchestra, a brilliant match that Barber achieved very succesfully. I'm not an expert on singers, but the main soprano does a spectacular job, particularly. This is a 1958 recording and doesn't sound that old, another feature that helped a lot. It goes straight to my favorite works by this composer.

Part of the tragedy of the Palestinians is that they have essentially no international support for a good reason: they've no wealth, they've no power, so they've no rights.

Noam Chomsky

Karl Henning

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on October 11, 2023, 03:41:09 PMQuite impressed by this stupendous opera, its style grips with ease. It leaves a strong impression both vocally and how effective the composer used the orchestra, a brilliant match that Barber achieved very succesfully. I'm not an expert on singers, but the main soprano does a spectacular job, particularly. This is a 1958 recording and doesn't sound that old, another feature that helped a lot. It goes straight to my favorite works by this composer.


Cesar, you remind me that this opera looms large in my unfinished business with the Mitropoulos box.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Cato

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on October 11, 2023, 03:41:09 PMQuite impressed by this stupendous opera, its style grips with ease. It leaves a strong impression both vocally and how effective the composer used the orchestra, a brilliant match that Barber achieved very successfully. I'm not an expert on singers, but the main soprano does a spectacular job, particularly. This is a 1958 recording and doesn't sound that old, another feature that helped a lot. It goes straight to my favorite works by this composer.




It is sad that Samuel Barber is too often - in the opera world - remembered for the disastrous production of his Antony and Cleopatra rather than for Vanessa.


I recall reading the "buzz" before the premiere of Antony and Cleopatra and too many were illogically prepared to hate it before they heard it.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Symphonic Addict

Quote from: Karl Henning on October 11, 2023, 04:22:57 PMCesar, you remind me that this opera looms large in my unfinished business with the Mitropoulos box.

When you're in the mood for it, do give it a try. A superlative work.


Quote from: Cato on October 11, 2023, 05:19:36 PMIt is sad that Samuel Barber is too often - in the opera world - remembered for the disastrous production of his Antony and Cleopatra rather than for Vanessa.


I recall reading the "buzz" before the premiere of Antony and Cleopatra and too many were illogically prepared to hate it before they heard it.

That is another opera of his I do want to hear. A crime that there's no any modern recording of it.
Part of the tragedy of the Palestinians is that they have essentially no international support for a good reason: they've no wealth, they've no power, so they've no rights.

Noam Chomsky

Scion7

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on October 11, 2023, 09:01:12 PMA crime that there's no any modern recording of it.

1984 is ancient history?  :D
When, a few months before his death, Rachmaninov lamented that he no longer had the "strength and fire" to compose, friends reminded him of the Symphonic Dances, so charged with fire and strength. "Yes," he admitted. "I don't know how that happened. That was probably my last flicker."

Madiel

Quote from: Scion7 on October 16, 2023, 02:04:51 PM1984 is ancient history?  :D

It's about 4 decades. A hell of a lot of music recordings have been released since.

And Reagan was President.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Symphonic Addict

For some reason I had skipped it. I checked some excerpts and the sound quality seems adequate.

Part of the tragedy of the Palestinians is that they have essentially no international support for a good reason: they've no wealth, they've no power, so they've no rights.

Noam Chomsky

kyjo

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on October 11, 2023, 03:41:09 PMQuite impressed by this stupendous opera, its style grips with ease. It leaves a strong impression both vocally and how effective the composer used the orchestra, a brilliant match that Barber achieved very succesfully. I'm not an expert on singers, but the main soprano does a spectacular job, particularly. This is a 1958 recording and doesn't sound that old, another feature that helped a lot. It goes straight to my favorite works by this composer.



Oh yes, it's a magnificent opera. Though my knowledge of the operatic repertoire is by no means comprehensive, I can easily proclaim it as one of my favorite works in the genre. Barber's lyrical and passionate style is so well-suited to vocal writing, and of course the orchestra plays more than just a mere supporting role throughout the work. I recall that I listened to the Chandos recording conducted by Leonard Slatkin, and it was quite excellent!

BTW, I remember also listening to Antony and Cleopatra a while ago and being pleasantly surprised by it (considering that it had a disastrous premiere). It has many of the same virtues that make Vanessa special.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Mapman

Quote from: Mookalafalas on January 10, 2024, 03:00:45 AMFor example, I've got a lot of copies of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings in various compilations, but assumed he was a one-hit wonder, more or less. I read Alex Ross's "The Rest is Noise," and mainly recall his mentioning Barber's various struggles, and eventual slide into alcoholism. Playing this, now, and it's extraordinary, and gorgeous:

fantastic playing and sound, too.

Barber is one of my favorite American composers! (And he's one of my "local" composers, as he grew up about 30 minutes away from where I grew up.)

Since you liked the 1st Symphony so much (I agree!), I'll also recommend the School for Scandal overture and Violin Concerto. If  you haven't heard them yet, I think you'll enjoy them too!

KevinP

For anybody interested, the full score of Barber's Capricorn Concerto can be viewed, but not downloaded, here for free:

https://issuu.com/scoresondemand/docs/capricorn_concerto_26021

I assume it can be downloaded as well if you pay and join.

Pohjolas Daughter

I enjoyed revisiting his Adagio recently (with Marriner and TAOSMITF).  A gorgeous and moving piece.  I need to check out more of his works.

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on April 12, 2024, 06:35:22 PMI enjoyed revisiting his Adagio recently (with Marriner and TAOSMITF).  A gorgeous and moving piece.  I need to check out more of his works.

PD

Commented on just a little way up this thread - the Symphony 1 and the opera Vanessa are really tremendous works.  For something much lighter "Souvenirs" is a real charmer too!