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Melodies Passageres - Barber: Songs / De Pledge, Jeffers

Barber / Jeffers / De Pledge
Release Date: 02/12/2013 
Label:  Quartz Records   Catalog #: 2079   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de PledgeGweneth-Ann Jeffers
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Barber's aunt was the most celebrated contralto of the day, and her husband Sidney Homer wrote a number of highly successful songs. Barber explained that "writing songs just seemed a natural thing to do." Barber had a fine baritone voice, studying singing as well as composition and piano at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Throughout his career, Barber's instinct for vocal shaping would inform his output; half of his published compositions are vocal, and even his instrumental works frequently possess a lyrical, cantabile quality. Furthermore, Barber's partner, Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007), was also a skilful composer of vocal music, and the pair undeniably influenced one another. In 1964, Menotti argued: "There is a Read more certain indolence towards the use of the voice today, a tendency to treat the voice instrumentally, as if composers feared that its texture is too expressive, too human". This emotive humanity is not something Barber himself shied away from; on the contrary, as both composer and lyricist he was able to cut to the heart of a subject with both concision and beauty. Gweneth-Ann Jeffers is among the best of today's young British singers. She is noted for her commanding voice and vivid personality. She has already been heard in an exceptionally wide range of repertoire including leading roles for Welsh National Opera and Oper Köln as well as concert engagements in Britain, Europe, Australia and Japan. In the 07/08 season, she made several role débuts: Gutrune in Götterdämmerung at the BBC Proms with Donald Runnicles; the title roles in Tosca at the Teatro São Carlos in Lisbon and the title role in Porgy and Bess for the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Macedonian Philharmonic. She also performed Messiaen's Harawi as part of the Southbank Centre's composer centenary celebrations 'From the Canyons to the Stars' and at the 2008 BBC Proms. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (4), Op. 13 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937-1940; USA 
2.
Songs (3), Op. 10 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
3.
Nuvoletta, Op. 25 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
4.
Mélodies passagères, Op. 27 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
5.
Hermit Songs, Op. 29 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; USA 
6.
Despite and Still, Op. 41 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968-1969; USA 

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