Samuel Barber
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1910-03-09
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/74ed34ce-ee95-44e9-a87d-4d2d5056c24a
Samuel Barber Samuel Barber Samuel Barber Samuel Barber

Biography

Samuel Barber’s fame rests largely on the huge popularity of his Adagio for Strings. Atypical in many respects, it does betray the fundamental principles that lay behind his art. He was a diehard romanticist, in that he liked his work ...

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Lidija Bizjak, Samuel Barber & Sanja Bizjak
Souvenirs - ballet suite, arr. for piano duet [orig. for orchestra]
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Souvenirs - ballet suite, arr. for piano duet [orig. for orchestra] Souvenirs - ballet suite, arr. for piano duet [orig. for orchestra] Souvenirs - ballet suite, arr. for piano duet [orig. for orchestra] Souvenirs - ballet suite, arr. for piano duet [orig. for orchestra]
Samuel Barber
To be sung on the water
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To be sung on the water To be sung on the water To be sung on the water To be sung on the water
Samuel Barber, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Alexander Mickelthwaite
Symphony no. 1, Op.9
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Symphony no. 1, Op.9 Symphony no. 1, Op.9 Symphony no. 1, Op.9 Symphony no. 1, Op.9
Samuel Barber, Gil Shaham, David Robertson & New York Philharmonic
Violin Concerto
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Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto
Samuel Barber, Stephen Layton & Polyphony
Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings
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Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings
Samuel Barber & Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
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ADAGIO FOR STRINGS ADAGIO FOR STRINGS ADAGIO FOR STRINGS ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
Ulster Orchestra, Raphael Payare & Barber
Adagio for Strings
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Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings
Samuel Barber, Seattle Symphony & Gerard Schwarz
Overture to The School for Scandal
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Overture to The School for Scandal Overture to The School for Scandal Overture to The School for Scandal Overture to The School for Scandal
Samuel Barber, Matthew Best & Corydon Singers
Agnus Dei
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Agnus Dei Agnus Dei Agnus Dei Agnus Dei
Samuel Barber
A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map; Agnus Dei
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A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map; Agnus Dei A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map; Agnus Dei A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map; Agnus Dei A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map; Agnus Dei
Leontyne Price, Gerald Moore & Samuel Barber
The Daisies
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The Daisies The Daisies The Daisies The Daisies
Samuel Barber & Nadine Koutcher sop and Llyr Williams piano
Sure on this Shining night
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Sure on this Shining night Sure on this Shining night Sure on this Shining night Sure on this Shining night
Samuel Barber, Thomas Schippers, Leontyne Price & New Philharmonia
Knoxville: Summer of 1915
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Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Samuel Barber, Conspirare & Craig Hella Johnson
The Coolin
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The Coolin The Coolin The Coolin The Coolin
Keith Jarrett, Samuel Barber, Saarbruken Radio Symphony Orchestra & Dennis Russell Davies
Concerto Op.38 For Piano And Orchestra
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Concerto Op.38 For Piano And Orchestra Concerto Op.38 For Piano And Orchestra Concerto Op.38 For Piano And Orchestra Concerto Op.38 For Piano And Orchestra
Keith Jarrett, Samuel Barber, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken & Dennis Russell Davies
2nd movement; Canzone (Moderato) from Concerto Op.38
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2nd movement; Canzone (Moderato) from Concerto Op.38 2nd movement; Canzone (Moderato) from Concerto Op.38 2nd movement; Canzone (Moderato) from Concerto Op.38 2nd movement; Canzone (Moderato) from Concerto Op.38
Samuel Barber, Leonard Slatkin & Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance Opus 23a
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Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance Opus 23a Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance Opus 23a Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance Opus 23a Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance Opus 23a
Samuel Barber, Ben Parry, Dunedin Consort & Dunedin Players
Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings
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Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings Agnus Dei for chorus [& kb ad lib], arr. from Adagio of Quartet for strings
Samuel Barber, Sir Neville Marriner & Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Adagio for string orchestra arr. from 2nd mvt of String Quartet
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Adagio for string orchestra arr. from 2nd mvt of String Quartet Adagio for string orchestra arr. from 2nd mvt of String Quartet Adagio for string orchestra arr. from 2nd mvt of String Quartet Adagio for string orchestra arr. from 2nd mvt of String Quartet
Samuel Barber, James Ehnes, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra & Bramwell Tovey
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op.14)
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Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op.14) Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op.14) Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op.14) Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op.14)
Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein & Isaac Stern, New York Philharmonic
Concerto for violin ‘2nd mvt’
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Concerto for violin ‘2nd mvt’ Concerto for violin ‘2nd mvt’ Concerto for violin ‘2nd mvt’ Concerto for violin ‘2nd mvt’
Samuel Barber, BBC Philharmonic & John Wilson
Violin Concerto
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Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto
Samuel Barber, Jorge Mester & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Adagio for Strings (Op.11)
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Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11)
Samuel Barber, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra & Richard Dufallo
Adagio for Strings (Op.11)
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Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11) Adagio for Strings (Op.11)
André Previn, Samuel Barber & Bonney, Bonney
Hermit Songs (op 29); The monk and his cat
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Hermit Songs (op 29); The monk and his cat Hermit Songs (op 29); The monk and his cat Hermit Songs (op 29); The monk and his cat Hermit Songs (op 29); The monk and his cat
Samuel Barber, Thomas Schippers, Leontyne Price & Philharmonia Orchestra
Antony and Cleopatra, Op 40; ‘Give me my robe’
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Antony and Cleopatra, Op 40; ‘Give me my robe’ Antony and Cleopatra, Op 40; ‘Give me my robe’ Antony and Cleopatra, Op 40; ‘Give me my robe’ Antony and Cleopatra, Op 40; ‘Give me my robe’
Samuel Barber, Yoel Levi, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Sylvia McNair
Knoxville: Summer of 1915
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Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Urszula Kryger, Royal String Quartet & Samuel Barber
Dover beach for voice and string quartet (Op.3)
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Dover beach for voice and string quartet (Op.3) Dover beach for voice and string quartet (Op.3) Dover beach for voice and string quartet (Op.3) Dover beach for voice and string quartet (Op.3)
Samuel Barber, Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Marin Alsop
Adagio for Strings
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Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings
Samuel Barber, Accentus Chamber Choir & Laurence Equilbey
Agnus Dei: Adagio opus 11
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Agnus Dei: Adagio opus 11 Agnus Dei: Adagio opus 11 Agnus Dei: Adagio opus 11 Agnus Dei: Adagio opus 11
Samuel Barber, Andrew Smith & Elizabeth Zharoff
Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano
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Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano
Samuel Barber & Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Marin Alsop (conductor)
Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
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Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24 Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24 Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24 Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
Samuel Barber, Joshua Bell, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & David Zinman
Violin Concerto
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Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto Violin Concerto
Dumbarton Oaks Orchestra, William Strickland, Eleanor Steber & Samuel Barber
Knoxville - summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (Op.24)
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Knoxville - summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (Op.24) Knoxville - summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (Op.24) Knoxville - summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (Op.24) Knoxville - summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra (Op.24)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thomas Sondergard, Samuel Barber & Alban Gerhardt
Cello Concerto, Op.22
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Cello Concerto, Op.22 Cello Concerto, Op.22 Cello Concerto, Op.22 Cello Concerto, Op.22
Samuel Barber & Jean Sibelius
String Quartet in D Minor
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String Quartet in D Minor String Quartet in D Minor String Quartet in D Minor String Quartet in D Minor
London Symphony Orchestra, Samuel Barber & André Previn
Adagio for Strings
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Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings Adagio for Strings
Thomas Schippers, Leontyne Price, Samuel Barber & New York Philharmonic
Knoxville: Summer of 1915
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Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Ailish Tynan, Samuel Barber & Joseph Middleton
Nuvoletta Op.25 for voice and piano
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Nuvoletta  Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta  Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta  Op.25 for voice and piano Nuvoletta  Op.25 for voice and piano
Ailish Tynan, Samuel Barber & Joseph Middleton
Despite and still Op.41 for voice and piano
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Despite and still  Op.41 for voice and piano Despite and still  Op.41 for voice and piano Despite and still  Op.41 for voice and piano Despite and still  Op.41 for voice and piano
Kitty Whately, Joseph Middleton & Samuel Barber
The Daisies, Op 2 No 1
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The Daisies, Op 2 No 1 The Daisies, Op 2 No 1 The Daisies, Op 2 No 1 The Daisies, Op 2 No 1
Samuel Barber, Thomas Hampson & Donald Runnicles
Sure on this shining night
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Sure on this shining night Sure on this shining night Sure on this shining night Sure on this shining night
Samuel Barber & The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers
Agnus Dei
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Agnus Dei Agnus Dei Agnus Dei Agnus Dei
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Biography

Samuel Barber’s fame rests largely on the huge popularity of his Adagio for Strings. Atypical in many respects, it does betray the fundamental principles that lay behind his art. He was a diehard romanticist, in that he liked his work to relate personal responses and emotions, and he enabled it to do so through a lyric gift underpinned by a harmonic sensibility based very much on the manners of the 19th century. This is not to say that he was an unoriginal composer – far from it. The songs have a clarity and an originality that puts one in mind of a figure like Poulenc. The Violin Concerto of 1939 contains elements of modernity not so far removed from the Violin Concerto of Berg. There is always a sense of refinement, of careful shaping and self-criticism. Perhaps the most accurate way to describe his music is as something courageously free. He felt unencumbered by the trends of the day. That was his singular strength.

Barber began learning the piano at 6 and composing at 7, encouraged by his aunt, the contralto Louise Homer, and his uncle, the song composer Sidney Homer. He entered the Curtis Institute at the age of 14. There he studied singing – he had a fine baritone voice and later recorded his own song-cycle Dover Beach – and conducting (with Fritz Reiner), as well as composition and piano. He remained at the Curtis for eight years, producing his earliest fully formed pieces. An award in 1928 for his Violin Sonata enabled him to go to Europe for the first time. He was drawn to Italy, and spent time at the American Academy in Rome (1935–7), where he wrote his First Symphony and a string quartet. The symphony was the first American work to be played at the Salzburg Festival; the slow movement of the quartet became the famous Adagio for Strings.

Barber taught for three years at the Curtis (1939–42), then set up house with the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, a fellow student who had travelled with him in Europe and remained his partner for the rest of his life. He wrote a Second Symphony in 1943 to a commission from the Army Air Force, but was dissatisfied with it; he attempted a revision in 1947 but withdrew it completely in 1967.After the war, he returned to Europe and produced a stream of large-scale works, including the Cello Concerto, the ballets Medea and Souvenirs, the vocal pieces Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Hermit Songs and Prayers of Kierkegaard and the Piano Sonata. There were also two important operas: Vanessa, to a libretto by Menotti, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1958; and Antony and Cleopatra, to a libretto by Franco Zeffirelli, which on its 1966 premiere (to open the new Metropolitan Opera in New York) was a spectacular flop. Barber claimed to have been unaffected by the disaster, but left for Italy after the premiere, isolating himself for the next five years. In 1974, however, he and Menotti began revising the piece and the second version proved far more successful. After that, Barber’s output slowed to a halt as he suffered the onset of the cancer that was to kill him at the age of 70.

Profile by Stephen Pettitt © BBC

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