This sparkling suite for violin and piano came into being when the composer had to adapt his incidental score for a production of Shakespeare's play to the impending absence of the chamber orchestral. The result is a brilliant piece for violin and piano, which the composer quickly released in a four-movement version. There are other recordings of the chamber orchestra suite in five-movements that duplicate only three of the movements of this version. Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist André Previn are ideal partners in this brilliant performance. The four movements allow Shaham to show four sides of his violinist's personality: He skips and plays in carefree fashion in the opening movement, indulges in the grotesquery and parody of the second, gets to play the romantic in the garden scene of the third movement, and dazzles with virtuosity in the final hornpipe. Previn's part is more than mere accompaniment; the piano often has a large part of the mood of the music and his contribution is, to use a word already employed here, ideal.
Roberta Alexander’s outstanding CD of vocal music by Samuel Barber demonstrates the soprano’s understanding of the composer’s musical language and emotional content … The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic plays very well under the tasteful leadership of Edo de Waart.
For all the agony as to the status of classical music in the modern musical landscape, the three 20th century string quartets on this fine French release can be said to have entered the repertory, with a reach that extends far beyond the U.S. They go quite well together, which is the first point in favor of France's Quatuor Diotima here; both Steve Reich's Different Trains, for string quartet and tape, and George Crumb's Black Angels for electric quartet feature an artificially enhanced string quartet, and even Samuel Barber elected to "enhance" his String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11, by orchestrating its central movement and making it into the famous Adagio for strings. Highly recommended.
Never-heard music from the mighty Keith Jarrett – performances recorded in the mid 80s, and featuring Jarrett working in a mix of jazz and classical styles that's pretty darn great! The first piece is Samuel Barber's "Piano Concerto Op 38", performed with the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies – but Jarrett's performance brings an edge and sense of air that recalls some of his own compositions for larger groups from the 70s, especially with Davie at the helm.
The American Virtuoso presents a recital by American pianist Paul Barnes. His third release for Orange Mountain Music, it features piano music by American composers including the world premiere recording of Barnes' transcription of Philip Glass's Piano Concerto No 2 'After Lewis and Clark' - the full version of which he also premiered on OMM in 2006 with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra under Ralf Gothóni. The focus of this first-rate solo recording are Samuel Barber's landmark "Sonata for piano" of 1950, described by Vladimir Horowitz as "the first truly great native work in the form", and his haunting "Ballade" and "Nocturne". And it ends with two colourful contrasting pieces from the mid-1990s by Joan Tower from "No Longer Very Clear", inspired by John Ashberry's eponymous poem.
This CD collects three different recordings from different occasions and with different artists as well: Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, op. 14, the Cello concerto, op. 22, and the Piano concerto, op. 38. The Violin concerto features Isaac Stern, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a classic 1964 performance - still the one to have despite Hahn's hailed recording……L. Johan @ Amazon.com
Samuel Barber, sticking broadly to the European concerto format and ethos, produced a three-movement work that in many respects is gestural, with, as is revealed in the beautiful slow movement, the sheer gorgeousness of which he was capable in composition. Aaron Copland's short concerto, on the other hand, embraces the full jazz idiom and is a blazing masterpiece that should be played more often in concert. And, coming from the other end and in a different direction, we have George Gershwin, getting his inimitable style and memorable tunes into the brilliant and breezy classical format of his Piano Concerto, breathtakingly played by Wang and the RSNO, an orchestra clearly comfortable in the idiom.
Barber provided these program notes for the premiere performance of his violin concerto: The first movement — allegro molto moderato — begins with a lyrical first subject announced at once by the solo violin, without any orchestral introduction. This movement as a whole has perhaps more the character of a sonata than concerto form. The second movement — andante sostenuto — is introduced by an extended oboe solo. The violin enters with a contrasting and rhapsodic theme, after which it repeats the oboe melody of the beginning. The last movement, a perpetuum mobile, exploits the more brilliant and virtuosic character of the violin.
Samuel Barber, one of the most prominent and popular American composers of the mid-20th century, wrote effectively in virtually every genre, including opera, ballet, vocal, choral, keyboard, chamber, and orchestral music. His music is notable for its warmly Romantic lyricism, memorable melodies, and essentially conservative harmonic style, all of which put him at odds with the prevailing modernist aesthetic of his time. Barber was a member of the first class at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 1928, the 17-year-old Gian Carlo Menotti came to study ……..From Allmusic