Barber: The Songs

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
This Deutsche Grammophon collection of the songs of American composer Samuel Barber initially made its bow in 1994. In the United States it originally debuted under the poorly chosen title Secrets of the Old, and this was swiftly amended to conform to the regular British version, simply titled Samuel Barber: The Songs. Rather unceremoniously deleted at one point, the set is making its return under the still more simplified Barber: The Songs as a number within the "Gramophone Award Collection," which also offers re-releases from Decca and Philips catalogs, as well. This selection of 47 songs coordinated, annotated, and accompanied by pianist John Browning is not ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
This Deutsche Grammophon collection of the songs of American composer Samuel Barber initially made its bow in 1994. In the United States it originally debuted under the poorly chosen title Secrets of the Old, and this was swiftly amended to conform to the regular British version, simply titled Samuel Barber: The Songs. Rather unceremoniously deleted at one point, the set is making its return under the still more simplified Barber: The Songs as a number within the "Gramophone Award Collection," which also offers re-releases from Decca and Philips catalogs, as well. This selection of 47 songs coordinated, annotated, and accompanied by pianist John Browning is not "complete" as the early, withdrawn version of the front cover once announced. But in the decade since its release, none of the other known heretofore unpublished Barber songs have seen the light of day, so this package remains more all-inclusive than any other, and all of the ten "new" Barber songs included are either at or barely below his usual high standard of work. Of the singer, Cheryl Studer is definitely the weak link in this project. In general her loud, heavy, and somewhat wayward voice is at least tolerable and sometimes her delivery of line and lyric is good; she treats Barber's songs with respect, if not reverence. But one sorely wishes DG had found someone else to sing "Sure on This Shining Night"; you could go down to the local university music school and find half a dozen sopranos who could do a better job than Studer does here. Thomas Hampson, by comparison, is in fine form throughout, particularly in the Op. 27 songs, "Bessie Bobtail" and even in the early songs such as "Night Wanderers." John Browning melds the whole thing together with his expertly formulated accompaniments, which capture both the letter and spirit of Barber's music. Without him, interest flags; the Hampson and Emerson String Quartet collaboration on "Dover Beach, Op. 3," is not a highlight of this collection. In terms of representing repertoire, some releases can remain at the top of their particular game without being absolutely perfect. Barber: The Songs belongs in this category, but its return to the catalog is nonetheless welcome in any form.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/2004
  • Label: DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON
  • UPC: 028947468523
  • Catalog Number: 000338002

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 A Slumber Song of the Madonna, for voice & organ - Samuel Barber & John Browning (2:01)
  2. 2 There's Nae Lark, for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (1:43)
  3. 3 Love at the Door, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (1:26)
  4. 4 Serenades, for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (2:16)
  5. 5 Love's Caution, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (2:56)
  6. 6 Night Wanderers, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (3:02)
  7. 7 Of That So Sweet Imprisonment, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (2:10)
  8. 8 Strings in the Earth and Air, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (1:18)
  9. 9 The Beggar's Song, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (2:02)
  10. 10 In the Dark Pinewood, song for voice & piano - Samuel Barber & John Browning (1:46)
  11. 11–13 Songs (3), for voice & piano, Op. 2 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (5:40)
  12. 14–16 Songs (3), for voice & piano, Op. 10 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (9:24)
  13. 17–20 Songs (4), for voice & piano, Op. 13 - James Agee & Samuel Barber (9:28)
  14. 18 Dover Beach, for baritone (or mezzo-soprano) & string quartet, Op. 3 - Samuel Barber & Matthew Arnold (8:11)
Disc 2
  1. 1–2 Songs (2), for voice & piano, Op. 18 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (3:15)
  2. 2 Nuvoletta, song for voice & piano, Op. 25 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (5:13)
  3. 4–8 Mélodies passagères (5), songs for voice & piano, Op. 27 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (9:20)
  4. 9–18 Hermit Songs, for voice & piano, Op. 29 - Samuel Barber & Wystan Hugh Auden (18:28)
  5. 19–23 Despite and Still, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 41 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (11:08)
  6. 24–26 Songs (3), for voice & piano, Op. 45 - Samuel Barber & John Browning (9:01)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cheryl Studer Primary Artist
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