Works by Samuel Barber

By Gilbert, David | Notes, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Works by Samuel Barber


Gilbert, David, Notes


Samuel Barber. Complete Choral Music. Revised Edition. New York: G. Schirmer; Milwaukee, WI: Dist. by Hal Leonard Corp., 2011. [About this edition, p. 4; historical notes, p. 5-8; score, p. 10-295. ISBN 978-1- 4234-7582-8; pub. nos. ED 4467 (Schirmer), HL50334620 (Hal Leonard). $24.95.]

Samuel Barber. Horizon. Full score. First Edition. Edited by David Flachs. New York: G. Schirmer; Milwaukee, WI: Dist. by Hal Leonard Corp., 2010. [Portrait, 1 p.; preface & instrumentation, 1 p.; score, p. 2-10. ISBN 978-1-4234-9980-0; pub. nos. ED 4463 (Schirmer), HL50490328 (Hal Leonard). $12.99.]

Samuel Barber. Commemorative March: Composed for Susie's (my sister's) Wedding in my New York Apartment. For violin, violoncello, and piano. Edited by David Flachs. New York: G. Schirmer; Milwaukee, WI: Dist. by Hal Leonard Corp., 2010. [Notes on the edition. 1 p.; score, p. 4-5, and 2 parts, 1 p. ea.; facsimile of manuscript score and parts, p. 7-11. ISBN 978-1-6177-4236-7; pub. nos. ED 4463 (Schirmer), HL50490374 (Hal Leonard). $12.95.]

The Samuel Barber centenary in 2010 brought forth editions, recordings, and some performances of this composer whose fortunes have risen and fallen among cognoscenti; disdained by some, he is popular with many who prefer their music more tonal than otherwise. As part of the Barber hundredth birthday celebration many libraries were provided free of charge with copies of an eight-disc set of works by Barber, many recorded by the composer or their first interpreters: Historical Recordings 1935-1960 (West Hill Radio Archives WHRA-6039 [2011]). It is a valuable compilation of previously released recordings (many no longer available) as well as some unreleased performances, most made with the composer's involvement as either performer or judge. Obviously the Adagio for Strings will keep Samuel Barber's name alive for some time, and the Hermit Songs, the Excursions for piano, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and a few other works receive a healthy number of performances and recordings to ensure a broader and longer legacy.

The Complete Choral Music contains all of Barber's works in this medium, including some arrangements he made of his own music (e.g., "The Monk and His Cat" from the Hermit Songs) and of others (an Ave Maria by Josquin des Préz). Two large works are not included here: The Lovers, for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, op. 43 (1971); and The Prayers of Kierkegaard, for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, op. 30 (1954). Two works are published here for the first time: Twelve Rounds (1927) and Motetto on Words from the Book of Job (1930); after all, these were written when the composer was but seventeen and twenty years old, respectively. The cover announces this to be a "Revised Edition" of the 1979 publication of the same title, which contained works "written and published up to 1969. …

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