Samuel Barber

Biography

Born: 1910   Died: 1981   Country: USA   Period: 20th Century
An open-hearted yet tough romantic, Samuel Barber was one of the few twentieth century American composers to fight for the primacy of lyricism. In his last decades he seemed to be losing the battle, but by the end of the century Barber had posthumously become one of America's most widely performed and recorded composers. In particular, his emotive Violin Concerto and Adagio for Strings have gained a popularity exceeded only by certain works of Read more Aaron Copland.

Barber entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1924, where he met future opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti; the two would become lifelong lovers. Barber was an able pianist and a baritone of some talent, but he was an even more precocious composer. His 1933 Curtis graduation piece, the spirited School for Scandal Overture, has become a beloved concert opener.

Barber developed into America's most enduring composer of art songs; most popular is his tender setting for soprano and chamber orchestra of James Agee's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Barber had unerring taste in texts, and his literary interests led him to compose some allusive short orchestral pieces. Yet he was particularly adept at writing abstract works, such as Music for a Scene from Shelley. Many of these are in large forms: two symphonies, one string quartet (from which was drawn the Adagio for Strings, first popularized by Arturo Toscanini), an ambitious piano sonata, and one concerto each for violin, cello, and piano. While following traditional formats, they are propelled by a dramatic expressivity that hadn't been fashionable since Sibelius. Equally direct in their emotional content are his three Essays for Orchestra, the second being the best crafted and most acclaimed.

Barber would have seemed an ideal composer for the stage, but he had limited success in that realm. Medea, a 1947 dance score for Martha Graham, has found greater longevity in orchestral excerpts. His 1958 Vanessa garnered him the first of two Pulitzer Prizes (the second was for his Piano Concerto), but, like most other American operas, it quickly dropped out of sight. Barber wrote Anthony and Cleopatra to open the new Metropolitan Opera House in 1966, but critical reaction was so hostile that he produced very little during his remaining 15 years. Barber was too conservative to be fashionable; his harmony could be astringent, but his tonality remained secure, his rhythms were strong and clear, and he was not above writing a good melody. Read less
Barber: Vanessa / Slatkin, Graham, Brewer, Et Al
Release Date: 11/09/2004   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5032   Number of Discs: 2
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1930s Violin Concertos Vol 1 - Barber, Hartmann, Berg, Stravinsky, Britten / Gil Shaham
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Canary Classics  
Catalog: 12   Number of Discs: 2
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Barber: Symphony No 1;  Beach: Gaelic Symphony / Järvi
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8958   Number of Discs: 1
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Barber, Bristow: Symphonies, Etc / Järvi, Detroit So
Release Date: 12/30/1993   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9169   Number of Discs: 1
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Barber: Complete Works For Solo Piano / Eric Parkin
Release Date: 07/26/1994   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9177   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Adagio for Strings, Op. 11

Browse 176-200 of 230 Available Recordings
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  • 176.
    Adagio: Music For Relaxation
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 4681292 Release Date: 09/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
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  • 177.
    The Stokowski Edition Vol 8 - Messiaen, Ives, Britten, Etc
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4787 Release Date: 08/22/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Samuel Barber,  Benjamin Britten,  Olivier Messiaen
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra,  USSR Radio/TV Large Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 178.
    Organ Dreams Vol 2 / Christopher Herrick
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67146 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Théodore Dubois,  Samuel Wesley,  Franz Liszt,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Herrick
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  • 179.
    Romantic Adagios
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 466710 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gabriel Fauré,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Cristina Ortiz,  Marie Goossens,  Jascha Silberstein,  Carlos Bonell  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Charles Dutoit,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 180.
    Cinema Classics, Vol 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503066 Release Date: 08/30/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gustav Mahler,  Samuel Barber  ... 
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  • 181.
    American Dreams - Barber, Et Al / Leppard, Indianapolis So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 458157 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Hoagy Carmichael,  Arthur Foote,  John Alden Carpenter  ... 
    Performer:  Arkady Orlovsky,  Hidetaro Suzuki
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 182.
    Meditation - The Greatest Hits
    Label: Reference Gold   Catalog: 3626 Release Date: 06/08/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Cápová,  Svetlana Stanceva,  Anna Leikes,  Jeffrey Bryant  ... 
    Conductor:  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Brass Quintet,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 183.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 21591 Release Date: 01/26/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Karin Dornbusch
    Conductor:  Péter Csaba
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Vitae
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  • 184.
    Barber: Symphonies 1 & 2, Etc / Järvi, Detroit So
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9684 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 185.
    Metamorphosis - Elgar, Barber And Strauss / Kenneth Slowik
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77343 Release Date: 08/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Samuel Barber
    Conductor:  Kenneth Slowik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Smithsonian Chamber Players
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  • 186.
    American Adagios
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80503 Release Date: 08/05/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  George Gershwin,  Aaron Copland,  Christopher Rouse  ... 
    Performer:  Arietha Lockhart,  Robert McDuffie,  Carol Wincenc,  Paul Edmund-Davies
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Erich Kunzel,  Yoel Levi,  Christoph Eschenbach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Festival Singers,  Cincinnati Pops,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 187.
    The Complete Wedding Album - There Is Love
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80490 Release Date: 04/28/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Richard Wagner,  Samuel Barber,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Angel Romero,  Joseph Silverstein,  Larry Cooperman,  Michael Chertock  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Erich Kunzel,  Leonard Slatkin,  Keith Clark  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
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  • 188.
    American Masterpieces - Barber, Bernstein, Gershwin, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 63034 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson,  Richard Rodgers,  Arthur Benjamin,  Hershy Kay  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Lane,  Eugene Ormandy,  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Pops Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 189.
    Adventures In Early Music
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 68859 Release Date: 06/17/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Anonymous,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Sigiswald Kuijken,  Wieland Kuijken,  Robert Kohnen,  Barthold Kuijken  ... 
    Conductor:  Konrad Junghänel,  Andrew Lawrence-King,  Sigiswald Kuijken,  Gustav Leonhardt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Köln,  Collegium Aureum,  Sequentia  ... 
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  • 190.
    Barber's Adagio
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 68758 Release Date: 05/20/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  David Pizarro,  Kazuhide Isomura,  Kikuei Ikeda,  Peter Oundjian  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Slowik,  Kalman Opperman,  Richard Marlow,  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Smithsonian Chamber Players,  Tokyo String Quartet,  Kalman Opperman Clarinet Choir  ... 
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  • 191.
    Barber / Schippers, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 62837 Release Date: 01/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincent D'Indy,  Alban Berg,  Gian Carlo Menotti,  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  Martina Arroyo
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 192.
    Exile On Classical Street
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452500 Release Date: 08/13/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Igor Stravinsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Itzhak Perlman,  Cecilia Bartoli,  György Fischer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Ernest Ansermet,  James Levine,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Borodin String Quartet  ... 
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  • 193.
    Pastorale / Flute Force, Julius Baker
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1133 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Anton Reicha,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Baker,  Gretchen Pusch,  Rie Schmidt,  Wendy Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flute Force
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  • 194.
    Nocturne / Leonard Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62617 Release Date: 06/11/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Aaron Copland,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 195.
    Adagio - J.s. Bach, Albinoni, Marcello, Mozart, Bruch, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550994 Release Date: 01/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Samuel Barber,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Camden,  Norbert Kraft,  Ernst Ottensamer,  Takako Nishizaki  ... 
    Conductor:  John Georgiadis,  Nicholas Ward,  Johannes Wildner,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Virtuosi,  Capella Istropolitana,  Northern Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 196.
    Barber: Adagio;  Gerber: The Old Farmer's Almanac / Vogel
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 742 Release Date: 12/12/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  René Gerber,  Samuel Barber
    Conductor:  Winston Dan Vogel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bucharest George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 197.
    Inner Peace - Classics For The Spirit
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 61977 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gustav Holst,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Oleg Malov,  Natalya Taldykina,  Nodar Gabunia,  Alexander Kiskachin  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov,  Vato Kahi,  Jahni Mardjani,  Stanislav Gorkovenko  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg New Classical Orchestra,  Georgian Festival Orchestra,  Georgian Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 198.
    Orchestral Favourites Vol 1 / Boughton, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7019 Release Date: 11/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Samuel Barber,  Edvard Grieg,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
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  • 199.
    The London Trombone Sound
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Eric Clapton,  Henry Mancini,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Edwards
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orch Trombones,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Trombones,  BBC Symphony Orchestra Trombones  ... 
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  • 200.
    Barber: Horizon, Summer Music, Etc / Barra, Golden, Et Al
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7206 Release Date: 06/27/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  Ruth Golden
    Conductor:  Donald Barra
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arioso Wind Quintet,  San Diego Chamber Orchestra
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