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Samuel Barber: Songs / Gerald Finley, Julius Drake


Release Date: 11/13/2007 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67528   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Samuel Barber
Performer:  Magnus JohnstonJennifer StummNadia WijzenbeekGerald Finley,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aronowitz Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



A wonderful reminder of Barber's skill as a songwriter, in ideal performances

Performances of this calibre emphasise Barber’s stature in the mainstream of 20th-century song composers. The tradition is Anglo-American and “There’s nae lark”, written when Barber was 16 to a poem by Swinburne in imitation Scots, could even be by Quilter. But Barber soon gets into his stride and by the time he reached his Three Songs, Op†10, there’s a rare kind of intensity as impressive as anything on this CD. The poems are from James Joyce’s Chamber Music; Barber set a few more, such as “In the dark pinewood” included here; but what a tragedy he never set the whole cycle
Read more that could have been an American Winterreise. The Hermit Songs, fey and whimsically amusing, are probably the best-known set.

The immediate comparison is with the Gramophone Award-winning Thomas Hampson, who is accompanied by John Browning, a close friend and colleague of Barber’s. Finley’s voice is lower – he transposes many of the songs – and richer, with nothing to fear alongside Hampson, who is anyway on a two-CD set. Mostly I prefer Finley, and the recording is warmer.

“Sure on the shining night” is vintage Barber, and Finley and Drake are impeccable (as are the Aronowitz Quartet in Dover Beach). The French songs, to poems by Rilke, who did write in French, have less character, but the single songs are all gems. This is another outstanding Hyperion release that does credit to Barber in what will soon be a run-up to his centenary.

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone [1/2008]
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Works on This Recording

1. Dover Beach, Op. 3 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Magnus Johnston (Violin), Jennifer Stumm (Viola), Nadia Wijzenbeek (Violin),
Gerald Finley (Baritone), Guy Johnston (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aronowitz Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 11 Secs. 
2. Hermit Songs, Op. 29 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
3. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
4. Songs (3), Op. 10 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
5. There's Nae Lark by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Julius Drake (Piano), Gerald Finley (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
6. Beggar's Song by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
7. In the Dark Pinewood by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
8. Songs (4), Op. 13: no 3, Sure on this Shining Night by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
9. Four Songs, Op. 13: 1. Nocturne by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1937-1940 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
10. Songs (3), Op. 2 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927-1934; USA 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Gerald Finley's interpretation of Samuel Barber S October 3, 2012 By Gary A. D. (Axton, VA) See All My Reviews "It is wonderful to see that another voice is doing some of Samuel Barber's song literature. There have been numerous testaments by the soprano voice each giving a lovely insight to some wonderful song compositions out there by Samuel Barber. Gerald Finley's approach to this is remarkable with an even tonality throughout his range. I was especially interested in his interpretation of the 'Hermit Songs' composed for and first recorded by the legendary Leontyne Price. Mr. Finley proves that the male interpretation of this literature can be just as effective as that of the soprano voice, giving strength and tenderness to areas needed as well as that of Miss Price. The only area of concern is the tempo that Mr. Finley chose to record these songs,'Hermit Songs'. I found the tempo for them sere just too slow. In contrast,it was nice to hear a transposed version of this composition. The other selections on the recording were all well measured with wonderful accompaniment and skillful direction." Report Abuse
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