Magazine article Gramophone

Barber: Reincarnations, Op 16

Magazine article Gramophone

Barber: Reincarnations, Op 16

Article excerpt

Barber Reincarnations, Op 16. Easter Chorale (a). God's Grandeur. Let down the bars, O Death!. Antony and Cleopatra--Two Choruses (b). The Monk and his Cat (b). Under the Willow Treeb. A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Mapc. Motetto on Words from the Book of Job. The Virgin Martyrs. The Moon (b). Sure on this Shining Night (b). Ad bibinem cum me rogaret ad cenam. Heaven-Haven. Agnus Dei Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir / Paul Spicer with (b) Ben Kennedy p! (ac) Matthew Firkins timp (a) Birmingham Conservatoire Brass Ensemble Somm Celeste [F] SOMMCD0152 (73' * DDD * T/t)

In 1981 Menotti told me that he disapproved of Barber's transcription of the famous Adagio into a choral piece and said he did it only to make money. Look at the situation now--it's the most powerful of all his choral works, but it's very demanding. The gold standard has been set recently by Polyphony under Stephen Layton (Hyperion, 8/14): he takes nine minutes but with Paul Spicer it's all over in six and a half. It is unfair to start with the weakest performance from the young Birmingham Conservatoire team because there are valuable things on this new CD. …

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