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Secrets Of The Old - Complete Songs Of Samuel Barber


Release Date: 06/10/2011 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 435867   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel Barber
Performer:  John BrowningCheryl StuderThomas Hampson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These songs may represent Barber's art at its most complete, and they are given wonderfully "complete" performances: Hampson especially brings to this music a remarkable range of expression and color.

The word 'complete' appears on the booklet accompanying this set, and although it's not literally true (there are many unpublished Barber songs that we must hope to hear some day) it is the right word to have chosen. Firstly, because the set contains, in addition to all the published songs, ten that have been unknown until now, and all are real discoveries, worthy of a place not only in this collection but in widespread performance: singers hunting for rewarding repertory will be unable to resist such an
Read more immaculately simple, memorable melody as Oh that so sweet imprisonment, or the insidiously catchy Beggar's song, with its fanfare-like accompaniment (a sure-fire encore piece if ever I heard one). Several of the other newly revealed songs have that Barber hallmark, the ability to build considerable eloquence from simple gesture, and all of them show his discriminating flair for choosing texts that are apt for setting and for singing.

Secondly, the set provides a compelling argument for regarding Barber's songs as his art at its most complete. There's hardly a weak song in the collection, and though for a really 'complete Barber' we should ideally need the orchestral songs and scenas as well, Dover Beach (ideally sung and played) is here to represent them. And lastly these are wonderfully 'complete' performances: Hampson especially brings to this music a remarkable range of expression and colour, a subtle use of words and a conviction that not a few of these songs are masterpieces. Studer has a slightly cooler approach, projects her words with rather less character, but often provides the vocal glamour, the ability to sketch long curves and floated high notes, that Barber (singer himself and connoisseur of singing) so often demanded. And John Browning, to whose virtuosity Barber tailored his Piano Concerto, sounds not only like a man who has yearned to accompany these singers in these songs for a long while, but like a considerable accompanist indeed, matching Hampson's dynamic range and expressive flexibility and Studer's seamless line with resourceful sympathy.

Sung in chronological order these songs are almost an autobiography. We can hear Barber challenging his precocious talent and fluent melodic gift with more and more demanding texts. As early as Op. 2, he rounds out two delightful songs from his teens with the wrenching pathos of ''Bessie Bobtail'' (a spine-tingling performance by Hampson, never a hint of exaggeration in its huge spectrum of colour and dynamic, the clarity of his words never distorting the line). He soon finds an affinity with James Joyce, choosing not only lyrics that Joyce (a singer himself) conceived with music in mind, but finding perfect solutions to such awkward texts as Nuvoletta (sheer genius to set it as a waltz-song with overtones of Gounod) and ''A solitary hotel'' (from Despite and Still, almost spoken recitatives alternating with an insinuating slow tango). He becomes a composer of delicately inflected chansons when writing the Melodies passageres for Bernac and Poulenc (but how characteristic that he should have chosen rather recondite words for the purpose: French poems by Rilke), finds a world of humour, wonder and piercing vision in the translated Irish texts of the Hermit Songs and enjoys challenging not only himself but Fischer-Dieskau (who commissioned Op. 45) with allusive, surreal images. Autobiography is at its most direct in Despite and Still, the once golden boy of American music now well into middle-age, suffering public and personal rejection, writing of his loneliness and despair with a poignancy all the more moving for his by now customary restraint. Hampson realizes how painfully, rawly personal they are, and sings them almost throughout with a comparable and most moving intimacy.

Yes, I could have done with a little more wit from Studer in Nuvoletta, lovely though her line and shading are, and in ''The Monk and his Cat'' (from Hermit Songs), but her touching simplicity elsewhere makes up for a lot. Otherwise no criticisms at all. This is both the most valuable and the most enjoyable recorded song recital that I have heard for a very long while, and the recorded sound is flawless.

-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [5/1994]

This set includes full song texts.
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Works on This Recording

1. A Slumber Song of the Madonna by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: English 
2. There's Nae Lark by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: English 
3. Love at the Door by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 
4. Serenader by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: English 
5. Love's Caution by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: English 
6. Night Wanderers by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
7. Of That So Sweet Imprisonment by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: English 
8. Strings in the Earth and Air by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
9. Beggar's Song by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
10. In the Dark Pinewood by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
11. Songs (3), Op. 2: no 1, The Daisies by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
12. Songs (3), Op. 2: no 2, With Rue my Heart is Laden by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: English 
13. Songs (3), Op. 2: no 3, Bessie Bobtail by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
14. Songs (3), Op. 10: no 1, Rain has Fallen by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
15. Songs (3), Op. 10: no 2, Sleep Now by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: English 
16. Songs (3), Op. 10: no 3, I Hear an Army by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: English 
17. Songs (4), Op. 13: no 1, A Nun Takes the Veil by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: English 
18. Songs (4), Op. 13: no 2, The Secrets of the Old by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: English 
19. Songs (4), Op. 13: no 3, Sure on this Shining Night by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 
20. Four Songs, Op. 13: 1. Nocturne by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1937-1940 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
21. Dover Beach, Op. 3 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
22. Songs (2), Op. 18: no 1, The Queen's Face on a Summery Coin by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: English 
23. Songs (2), Op. 18: no 2, Monks and Raisins by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
24. Nuvoletta, Op. 25 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: English 
25. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27: no 1, Puisque tout passe by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
26. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27: no 2, Un cygne by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: French 
27. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27: no 3, Tombeau dans un parc by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: French 
28. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27: no 4, Le clocher chante by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
29. Mélodies passagères, Op. 27: no 5, Départ by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: French 
30. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 1, At Saint Patrick's Purgatory by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 
31. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 2, Church Bell at Night by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 0 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: English 
32. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 3, St Ita's Vision by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
33. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 4, The Heavenly Banquet by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
34. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 5, The Crucifixion by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: English 
35. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 6, Sea-snatch by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 0 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
36. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 7, Promiscuity by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 0 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
37. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 8, The Monk and his Cat by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Cheryl Studer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
38. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 9, The Praises of God by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: English 
39. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: no 10, The Desire for Hermitage by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
40. Despite and Still, Op. 41: no 1, A Last Song by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968-1969; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
41. Despite and Still, Op. 41: no 2, My Lizard by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968-1969; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: English 
42. Despite and Still, Op. 41: no 3, In the Wilderness by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968-1969; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: English 
43. Despite and Still, Op. 41: no 4, Solitary Hotel by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), John Browning (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: English 
44. Despite and Still, Op. 41: no 5, Despite and Still by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968-1969; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: English 
45. Songs (3), Op. 45: no 1, Now have I Fed and Eaten up by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: English 
46. Songs (3), Op. 45: no 2, A Green Lowland of Pianos by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: English 
47. Songs (3), Op. 45: no 3, O Boundless, Boundless Evening by Samuel Barber
Performer:  John Browning (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 

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