- The School for Scandal, overture for orchestra, Op. 5
- Violin Concerto, Op. 14: Andante
- Adagio for strings (or string quartet; arr. from 2nd mvt. of String Quartet), Op. 11
- Knoxville: Summer of 1915, for high voice & orchestra (rev. for voice & chamber orchestra), Op. 24
- Piano Concerto, Op. 38: Canzone
- Agnus Dei, for chorus & organ/piano (arr. from 2nd mvt. of String Quartet), Op. 11
The Best of Barber, Telarc's addition to the growing number of this composer's greatest-hits albums, is also a sampler of pieces taken from four other discs previously released on this label. If this collection gives only a tantalizing hint of Samuel Barber's varied output, then listeners should investigate the albums that present the works in their entirety. The "Violin Concerto" and the "Piano Concerto" ought to be heard complete, so the Andante, performed by violinist Robert McDuffie, and the Canzone, played by pianist Jon Kimura Parker, may lead one to explore these masterful works further. The Overture to "The School for Scandal" shows Barber's considerable wit and brilliant orchestration, and Yoel Levi and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra give this piece an enthusiastic rendition. "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," also with Levi and the A.S.O., is full of warmth and nostalgia, and the endearing singing of the incomparable Sylvia McNair makes this recording especially desirable. The "Adagio for Strings and the Agnus Dei, both arranged by Barber from the second movement of his underplayed "String Quartet in B major, Op. 11," receive exceptional performances from Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony, and Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, respectively.