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Leontyne Price Sings Barber - Knoxville, Hermit Songs


Release Date: 05/10/1994 
Label:  Rca Victor Gold Seal Catalog #: 61983   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne PriceSamuel Barber
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

...the Leontyne Price disc is also indispensable, as hers was one of the composer's favorite voices and the one for which the Hermit Songs and Antony and Cleopatra were originally intended and for which the latter, at least, was ideally suited... The long-awaited Leontyne Price reissue disc is a natural complement to the new Studer/Hampson release [DG 435867]. As noted earlier, she and her voice were important factors in Barber's career as a vocal composer. Available for the first time on recording is the world premiere performance of the Hermit Songs, done, along with four other songs, at the Library of Congress in October 1953—one year before the famous studio recording—again with the composer as pianist—that has long loomed as the Read more definitive performance of this cycle (currently available on Sony MPK-46727). The sound quality is, of course, better on the studio recording, and the performances are more secure, but some nice touches of spontaneity emerge from this concert document. Incidentally, the reading of “The Daisies“ is something of a revelation, as Price and Barber give it a quick, almost casual light-heartedness that is quite different from the way we are accustomed to hearing it. Though Knoxville was never “hers,“ Price characterized the work with a boyish innocence that penetrated more deeply than many other otherwise superb versions. Knoxville has been the beneficiary of many excellent recorded performances, but Price's is as fine as anyone's, although the level of background hiss on this 1968 recording—though not really damaging—is too high not to mention. For some reason, this problem does not seem to affect the two Antony and Cleopatra scenes. Despite its unpromising beginnings, the 1966 opera has since been steadily winning admirers and vindicating itself as one of the composer's mature masterpieces, and Price's towering performances of these two scenes have been a significant factor in rehabilitating its reputation. Listeners not yet familiar with the opera, or with the dramatic scene Andromache's Farewell or the choral cantata The Lovers, have major musical epiphanies awaiting them.

-- Walter Simmons, FANFARE [9/1994] Read less

Works on This Recording

1. 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  Library of Congress, Washington, DC 
Length: 16 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
2. Knoxville, Summer of 1915, Op. 24 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947-1950; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1968 
Length: 16 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3. Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 40: Give me some music by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965-1966; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1968 
Length: 8 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
4. Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 40: Give me my robe by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1968 
Length: 9 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
5. Songs (3), Op. 10: no 2, Sleep Now by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Piano), Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Library of Congress, Washington, DC 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 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  Library of Congress, Washington, DC 
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  Library of Congress, Washington, DC 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: English 
8. Nuvoletta, Op. 25 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Samuel Barber (Piano), Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/30/1953 
Venue:  Live  Library of Congress, Washington, DC 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

At Saint Patrick's Purgatory
Church Bell at Night
Saint Ita's Vision
The Heavenly Banquet
The Crucifixion
Sea-Snatch
Promiscuity
The Monk and His Cat
The Praises of God
The Desire for Hermitage
Sleep Now, Op. 10, No. 2
The Daisies, Op. 2, No. 1
Nocturne, Op. 13, No. 4
Nuvoletta, Op. 25
Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
Give Me Some Music
Give Me My Robe

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Thrilling June 18, 2014 By Robert E. (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "To listen to this album is truly a goosebump experience many times over. The thrill of hearing the voice of Ms. Price in all of its youthful chrystalline beauty is a marvel hard to match." Report Abuse
 A Damaged Classic May 17, 2013 By James Goodfriend (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "The Library of Congress recital was a landmark in the history of American music (I heard a slightly later repeat of it at another location, which woke me up to Barber as clearly the most inspired composer of songs in America). However, while the rather primitive audio quality here can be excused by the difficulties of the live recording, the insensitive insistence of the audience in applauding after every single number of the Hermit Songs makes listening to that portion of the disc a torture. Surely, at least some of it could have been edited out. Price, of course, sang beautifully, as she does throughout the disc and, luckily, she also made a later studio recording of the cycle. That latter recording, though, did not include the other songs with piano that appear here and are well worth owning. Apart from the recital itself, her recording here of Knoxville, Summer of 1915 is probably unsurpassed. There have been other fine renditions of this small masterpiece, but none to my ear quite match the ecstasy of this one. It is not just Price's singing, which is exquisite, but the orchestral playing under Thomas Schippers, who somehow consistently elicited more magic from Barber's scores than any other conductor." Report Abuse
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