Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music / Edition 1

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Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was one of the most important and honored American composers of the twentieth century. Writing in a great variety of musical forms—symphonies, concertos, operas, vocal music, and chamber music—he infused his works with poetic lyricism and gave tonal language and forms new vitality. His rich legacy includes such famous compositions as the Adagio for Strings, the orchestral song Knoxville: Summer of 1915, three concertos, and his two operas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Vanessa and Antony and Cleopatra, a commissioned work that opened the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. Generously documented by letters, sketchbooks, original musical manuscripts, and interviews with friends, colleagues and performers with whom he worked, this is the first book to cover Barber's entire career and all of his compositions. The biographical material on Barber is closely interspersed with a discussion of his music, displaying Barber's creative processes at work from his early student compositions to his mature masterpieces. Heyman also provides the social context in which this major composer grew: his education, how he built his career, the evolving musical tastes of American audiences, his relationship to musical giants like Serge Koussevitzky, and the role of radio in the promotion of his music. A testament to the significance of the new Romanticism, Samuel Barber stands as a model biography of an important American musical figure.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Eleven years after his death, the American composer Barber is the subject of a large-scale biography, the first since 1955 (Nathan Broder, Samuel Barber , LJ 12/15/54). Based on the author's Ph.D. dissertation, this exhaustively documented study makes extensive use of original sources, including correspondence, manuscripts, and interviews. Unfortunately, the material is quite poorly organized. The biographical narrative is constantly disrupted by lengthy, discursive discussions of Barber's compositions. Treating the ``life'' and ``works'' separately (cf. Eric W. White's Stravinsky: A Critical Survey , Greenwood, 1979, or Maynard Solomon's Beethoven , LJ 11/15/77) would have been much clearer and more user-friendly. Despite these major problems, this book is recommended for large music collections because it represents such thorough research. For others, the article on Barber in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music will suffice.-- Eugene Gaub, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090581
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 1,041,732
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara B. Heyman, a pianist, editor, and musicologist, has written and lectured extensively on Samuel Barber. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Beginnings 7
2 A Serious Student 33
The Curtis Institute of Music, Scalero, Menotti, First publications, Three Songs
3 Discoveries 53
Summers in Europe, the Menotti family, Serenade for String Quartet, Unpublished early works: Violin Sonata, Piano Concerto, Organ Prelude and Fugue, Interludes for Piano, Carillon pieces
4 Uncertainties 86
Overture to The School for Scandal, Dover Beach, Composer as singer
5 Independence 110
Cello Sonata, Music for a Scene from Shelley, Incidental Music for One Day of Spring
6 The American Academy 133
Symphony in One Movement, Chamber Music, String Quartet
7 Recognition 162
The Toscanini premieres: Essay for Orchestra, and the Adagio for Strings, Choral works
8 Prelude to War 191
Violin Concerto, Four Songs, Second Essay
9 World Cataclysm 211
Commando March, Funeral March, Second Symphony, Night Flight, Four Excursions, Capricorn Concerto
10 Middle Years 248
Cello Concerto, Medea, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Piano Sonata
11 Composer as Conductor 311
12 Song Cycles 324
Melodies passageres, Souvenirs, Hermit Songs, "Adventure"
13 Searches 348
Prayers of Kierkegaard, Summer Music, "Horizon"
14 Vanessa 374
15 Interlude 400
Wondrous Love, Nocturne, A Hand of Bridge, Toccata Festiva, Die Natali
16 Lincoln Center Commissions 410
Piano Concerto, Andromache's Farewell
17 A New Opera House 428
Antony and Cleopatra
18 The Last Years 461
Despite and Still, Choral works, Mutations from Bach, The Lovers, Fadograph of a Yestern Scene, Three Songs, Ballade, Third Essay, Canzonetta for Oboe and String Orchestra
Postlude 512
Works List 515
Bibliography 522
Notes 531
Index 565
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