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BARBER, S.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 / First Essay for Orchestra (Royal Scottish National Orchestra, M. Alsop)

Composer(s):Barber, Samuel
Artist(s) Alsop, Marin, Conductor • Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.559024
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
USD 6.99



Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The two symphonies are played on Naxos with passionate commitment and deep lyrical feeling by the Scottish orchestra. The account of the complete Second Symphony will surely confirm the reputation of a wartime work which the composer partly withdrew in despondency after its neglect. The First Essay for Orchestra also generates a powerful atmosphere when played with such depth of feeling. With spectacular recording, this exciting collection is very strongly recommended.

Review By Scott Paulin,Barnes & Noble,June 2000

Sometimes the composer doesn’t know best. If Samuel Barber had his way, his Second Symphony would be lost to us, all copies of the score destroyed. Fortunately, this vividly dramatic World War II-era work was rediscovered after Barber’s death in 1981, allowing us to savor the melodic invention and rhythmic propulsion of a great American symphony. Its slow movement, an evocation of nocturnal flight, contains some of Barber’s most lovely music alongside his popular Adagio for Strings and Violin Concerto. Always a romantic at heart, Barber found little acceptance among the severe avant-garde establishment of the postwar years, but his lyrical inspiration ensured his success with audiences. This exhilarating recording of Barber’s two symphonies launches


Review By Jon Yungkans,The Flying Inkpot,December 2004

Naxos made an excellent choice in Marin Alsop (pictured right) to conduct these works. She understands that there is more than what sheer drive can convey, and that the melodies need to do more than speak for themselves. Her pacing isn’t overly slower than it is in others’ hands, but her approach is broader—releasing the sound world to let the lyricism fully bloom. Even the chirping woodwind figures in The School for Scandal Overture become a seamless melodic line, carefully shaped with the cadence and inflections of the human voice. Instead of simply exploding, the opening chords spread colorfully and build in power—the musical equivalent of C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe giving us the vistas of Narnia lying beyond it.

Review By Geoffrey Norris,The Daily Telegraph (Australia),June 2000

Samuel Barber (1910–1981) had the good fortune, or maybe misfortune, to write one work—the Adagio for Strings—with which his name is always associated, practically to the exclusion of everything else he composed.

But this new disc, the first in a series to be devoted to Barber’s music, puts the famous Adagio in the much broader context of a composer capable of boldness, drama and vivid orchestral colour. Marin Alsop conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in performances that have both grandeur and zest.



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