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Samuel Barber

Born: 1910. Died: 1981. Lived in: United States

Samuel Barber's music, masterfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex, and harmonically rich. Born 9 March 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Barber wrote his first piece at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. At the age of 14 he entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied voice, piano, and composition. Later, he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner.

At Curtis, Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied libretti for Barber's operas Vanessa (for which Barber won the Pulitzer) and A Hand of Bridge. Barber's music was championed by a remarkable range of renowned artists, musicians, and conductors including Vladimir Horowitz, John Browning, Martha Graham, Arturo Toscanini, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Jennie Tourel, and Eleanor Steber. His Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966.


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Recordings and DVDs

Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.

Choir of Ormond College : Barber: Choral Music : 1 CD : 8.559053

Choir of Ormond College : Barber: Choral Music

Setting texts for chorus or solo songs occupied Samuel Barber throughout his creative life. In particular he sought out English and Irish writers, many of whose melancholic and nostalgic texts aptly matched his own musically romantic persuasion. A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map is a disturbing setting of a poem by Stephen Spender describing the death of a soldier in the Spanish Civil War, during which the poet had spent time in Spain. The elegiac and now extraordinarily popular Adagio for Strings is heard in the composer's own choral version, Agnus Dei, to words from the Latin Mass. God's Grandeur is one of Barber's most ambitious and advanced unaccompanied settings

Songlist: A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, Op. 15, Under The Willow Tree (from Vanessa), Twelfth Night, Op. 42, No. 2, To be Sung on the Water, Op. 42, No. 2, The Monk and His Cat, Agnus Dei, Reincarnations, Op. 16, The Virgin Martyrs, Op. 8, No. 1, Let Down the Bars, O Death, Op. 8, No. 2, Heaven-haven, Op. 13, No. 1, Sure on This Shining Night, Op. 13, No. 3, Chorale for Ascension day (Easter Chorale), Two Choruses from Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 40, God's Grandeur

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8916c | 1 CD | $9.95

Esoterics : Barber - Collected Choral Works : 1 CD : Eric Banks

Esoterics : Barber - Collected Choral Works

This recording was made in conjunction with The Esoterics' centennial concert of the same name, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American composer Samuel Barber. This is the first recording by an American choral ensemble to feature all of Barber's works for a cappella chorus. Barber is one of the most important figures in American composition, having twice won the Pulitzer Prize. Purchase your copy of this historic recording by one of the country's premiere vocal ensembles for contemporary choral music! This recording, made in the lush acoustics of Seattle's Holy Rosary Catholic Church, is the first recording to bring together God's grandeur and Motetto on words from the book of Job, which Barber had intended to be performed as a single cycle. Also included in this recording are three choral works that are normally performed with instruments (Easter chorale, A stopwatch and an ordnance map, and Sure on this shining night). For these three pieces, the ensemble sings the instrumental parts (for brass, timpani and piano) as well as the choral parts. This recording, directed by The Esoterics' Founding Director Eric Banks, is an excellent interpretation of Barber's neo-romantic style and was engineered using binaural recording technology.

Songlist: There the wicked cease - Motetto, Call now! - Motetto, God's grandeur - Motetto, Praise him! - Motetto, Twelfth night, Easter chorale, Heaven-haven, Let down the bars, O death, The virgin martyrs, A stopwatch and an ordnance map, To be sung on the water, Mary Hynes - Reincarnations, Anthony O Daly - Reincarnations, The coolin - Reincarnations, Agnus Dei, Sure on this shining night, Happy birthday, Sam Barber

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6009c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella

Joyful Company Of Singers : Samuel Barber / William Schuman : 1 CD : Peter Broadbent

Joyful Company Of Singers : Samuel Barber / William Schuman

A unique all-American program from the amazing Joyful Company of Singers that contains some of that country's most beautiful choral works of our time, including Barber's own choral version of his Adagio. The dozen choral pieces chosen by Peter Broadbent superbly demonstrate Barber's melodic genius. They include the only recording available of his radiantly intense God's Grandeur. Offering stimulating contrast are contemporary William Schuman's Perceptions and the hilariously entertaining Mail-Order Madrigals, the words taken straight out of an 1897 catalogue.

Songlist: Twelfth Night, To Be Sung On the Water, Reincarnations:, i) Mary Hynes, ii) Anthony O'Daly, iii) The Coolin', Agnus Dei, Heaven-Haven, Sure On This Shining Night, The Monk and His Cat, The Virgin Martyrs, Let Down the Bars, O Death, God's Grandeur, Perceptions:, i) Thought, ii) Beautiful Women, iii) To Old Age, iv) Each Of Us, v) To the States, vi) A Farm Picture, vii) Whoever You Are, viii) To You, Mail Order Madrigals:, i) Attention, Ladies!, ii) Superfluous Hair, iii) Sweet Refreshing Sleep, iv) Dr Worden's Pills

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6541c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella

Sixteen : Barber - Agnus Dei : 1 CD : Harry Christophers : 16031

Sixteen : Barber - Agnus Dei

This collection of American choral music spanning the 20th century features familiar and less well-known composers, from the lyrical traditionalism of Barber by way of Bernstein and Copland to the counterpoint, rhythmic verve and neo-classicism of Irving Fine. The disc finishes with the dreamily haunting Acrostic Song from Final Alice by David del Tredici.

Songlist: Agnus Dei, O Know To End As To Begin, Have You Seen The White Lily Grow?, O Do Not Wanton With Those Eyes, Against Jealousy, Lament, The Hour-Glass, Clapping Music, Spring Song, Court Song, Soldier's Song, Prelude, Benedictus, Sanctus', Requiem, Gloria, Help Us, O Lord, Thou, O Jehovah, Abideth Forever, Have Mercy On Us, O My Lord, Sing Ye Praises To Our King, Mary Hynes, Anthony O Daly, The Coolin, Acrostic Song From "Final Alice"

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7908c | 1 CD | $16.95 | A Cappella

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