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Leontyne Price & Samuel Barber - Historic Performances (1953 & 1938)


Release Date: 10/05/2004 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9156   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francis PoulencSamuel BarberHenri SauguetGabriel Fauré,   ... 
Performer:  Leontyne PriceSamuel Barber
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This famous recital, at which Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs received its world premiere, is justly acclaimed and well known through its RCA release. That, however, features only the Barber items (which include four additional songs). The remainder of the program is every bit as worthy, and consists entirely of a wonderful selection of French songs by Poulenc (Quatre Poèmes de Paul Eluard and C'est ainsi due tu es), Fauré (Au bord de l'eau), and perhaps most interesting of all, Henri Sauget's La Voyante (The Fortune-Teller), a delightful cycle of five songs that deserves to be far more frequently performed. Leontyne Price, who was 26 and at the very start of her illustrious career, sings so beautifully that it's almost shocking. Read more Her rich tone perfectly suits Poulenc, a composer whose music she sang with pleasure throughout her career. Barber's accompaniments are every bit as accomplished, and Bridge's sonics may be slightly warmer than the very good RCA partial release.


Adding greatly to this release's appeal is a fascinating recital broadcast from the Curtis Institute on December 26, 1938, featuring the young Samuel Barber accompanying himself in a program of six folksongs and six lieder by Schumann (In der Fremde), Mendelssohn (Ist es wahr?), C.P.E. Bach (Nonnelied), Brahms (Der Gang zum Liebchen and Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht), and Schubert (Der Jüngling an der Quelle). The folksongs come from England, Austria, the U.S., and Italy, making this recital a real international celebration. Barber had a lovely baritone voice, as listeners familiar with his recording of his own Dover Beach will attest, and it's quite remarkable to hear him sing and play simultaneously, shading the accompaniments to follow his phrasing and communicating with such open intimacy. The sound is obviously more limited than in the 1953 program with Price, but Bridge has cleaned it up very well: it's perfectly clear, and they have wisely left in a bit of noise rather than diminish the high frequencies.


So many historical releases earn that appellation only by virtue of the fact that they are old. In contrast, this one gives us two important musical documents that belong in the collection of anyone who cares about art songs--and great performances of them. A real gem.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Miroirs brûlants: no 1, Tu vois le feu du soir by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
2. Main dominée par le coeur by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Piano), Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 
3. Ce doux petit visage by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: French 
4. Miroirs brûlants: no 2, Je nommerai ton front by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
5. Songs (3), Op. 10: no 2, Sleep Now by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
6. Songs (3), Op. 2: no 1, The Daisies by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
7. Four Songs, Op. 13: 1. Nocturne by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1937-1940 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: English 
8. Nuvoletta, Op. 25 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: English 
9. Hermit Songs, Op. 29 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 16 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: English 
10. La Voyante by Henri Sauguet
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 14 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Métamorphoses (3): no 2, C'est ainsi que tu es by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
12. Au bord de l'eau, Op. 8 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: French 
13. The water is wide by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
14. The Deaf Woman's Courtship by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Written: Kentucky 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: English 
15. Brother Greene by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Written: Kentucky 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: English 
16. Zu dir by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Written: Tirol 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: German 
17. Batti, batti by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Written: Tuscany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
18. Chi ti ci fa venir by Traditional
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Written: Tuscany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
19. Liederkreis, Op. 39: no 1, In der Fremde by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
20. Songs (12), Op. 9: no 1, Frage by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: German 
21. Nonnelied, Wq 200 no 3 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: German 
22. Songs (7), Op. 48: no 1, Der Gang zum Liebchen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1862; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: German 
23. Songs (4), Op. 96: no 1, Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Baritone), Samuel Barber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: German 
24. Der Jüngling an der Quelle, D 300 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Piano), Samuel Barber (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/26/1938 
Venue:  Live  Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: German 

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