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BARBER, S.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Violin Concerto / Music for a Scene from Shelley (Buswell, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, M. Alsop)

Composer(s):Barber, Samuel
Artist(s) Alsop, Marin, Conductor • Royal Scottish National OrchestraBuswell, James, violin
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category ConcertosOrchestral
Catalogue 8.559044
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Marin Alsop with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra backs up the masterly Violin Concerto with the witty and delightfully parodic ballet, Souvenirs, and two early works, the evocative Scene from Shelley and a long-neglected three-movement Serenade, which is based on a string quartet written when Barber was nineteen and which anticipates the Adagio for Strings. James Buswell is a refined, sensitive soloist, warm without being soupy…

Review By Jason Serinus,The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA),January 2009

This is a delicious pairing of the great Violin Concerto, Op. 14 with the student Serenade for Strings, Op.1; early Music for a scene from Shelley, Op.7; and mature Souvenirs (Ballet Suite), Op. 28…[T]his low-price issue of this marvelous romantic masterpiece, initially considered unplayable by the man who commissioned it, is a definite thumbs up.

Review By Lloyd Dykk,Vancouver Sun,January 2009

…a bargain, as anything good on Naxos is. The latest in the company’s laudable survey of American classics, this is very, very good. Samuel Barber was and still is cursed by the popularity of his Adagio for Strings. People kept wondering why he couldn’t write another one, overlooking the fact that he had, several times—this ravishingly romantic violin concerto, Knoxville, Summer of 1915 and his Symphony No. 1. Violinist James Buswell’s performance is in no way inferior to Gil Shaham’s celebrated one on Deutsche Grammophon and, I think, in some ways even better—more intimate, with more whispery confidences at the heights of the E-string, and with touches of heartfelt glissando. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one of the


Review By Andrew Druckenbrod,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,July 2003

This isn’t the definitive version of the concerto, but violinist James Buswell and conductor Marin Alsop evoke the tender moments of this great work skillfully.

Review By Lawrence Budmen,Coral Gables Gazette,July 2003

In its own unique way, Barber’s music is definitely American. His beautiful ‘Violin Concerto,’ Opus 14 (1941) is one of his greatest works. By turns haunting and virtuosic, this score demands great violin playing. On the new Naxos release, James Buswell provides that and more…his performance of Barber’s masterpiece captures the searing, bittersweet quality of the music. Buswell’s bright, singing tone fits this score perfectly. He gives a dazzling reading of the Presto in moto perpetuoso finale, tossing off the double stops with verve. He is given gorgeous support by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Marin Alsop…the lush playing of the string section is striking. This is a great performance, easily the equal of the classic


Review By Jason Serinus,Southern Voice,May 2002

For those who have never heard Barber’s marvelous romantic masterpiece, this low-price issue is a definite thumbs up.

Review By Geoffrey Norris,The Daily Telegraph (Australia),December 2001

The rich seam of lyricism running through Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto is displayed in all its lustre by this performance. It comes in Naxos’s continuing and continuously revelatory series devoted to Barber’s music, with the conductor Marin Alsop articulating the composer’s distinctive voice through the expressive medium of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and with the soloist James Buswell interpreting the music’s wistfulness, romantic yearning and virtuoso flourish with winning sensitivity and panache.

This is a performance with a genuine heart, superbly played, with a marked care for detail, instrumental colour and melodic inflection, and with a deeply communicative warmth and affection.



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