Barber - Adagio for Strings, First Essay for Orchestra
Study in Seven, Essay for Orchestra
Essay for Orchestra is a bold and dramatic work that makes use of solid contrapuntal lines and striking contemporary harmonies. The middle section features a cantabile melody accompanied by a background of dissonant pyramids. Essay for Orchestra is scored to take full advantage of the vibrant colors of the symphony orchestra.
Study in Seven, Essay for Orchestra I
Essay for Orchestra has a single major thematic element and a few minor melodic ideas that are exploited so as to give the impression of being interesting. Unlike my "American Songs," a composition that has no American Songs in it, the Essay does contain one direct quotation from American Music starting at bar 163.
Samuel Barber had strong literary interests in several languages. His choice of song texts ranged from medieval lyrics to Kierkegaard, Joyce, Rilke, and Neruda. His Essays for orchestra (there are three) really pose a metaphor for the handling of musical themes. The Second Essay, in particular, states an initial idea (like a writer's thesis) and develops it into three major themes. Of his Essays, critics generally consider this the most tightly-composed, and more than one writer has compared it to a symphony, because so much happens in its ten minutes. This is by far one of the best albums I own. It is some of Samuel Barber's best. His usage of the string sections is very moving and emotional in both his First Essay for Orchestra and particularly in Adagio for Strings. It has long been considered that Adagio for Strings is one of the saddest compositions every written and I must agree. All of his music is incredibly beautiful and well composed. This album is probably one of the best performances of these pieces available to buy. Essay for Orchestra is a single movement musical composition. The instrumentation is for large, modern orchestra, including an unusually large percussion complement, two keyboard instruments, and the addition of electric guitar. The music is non-programmatic in nature and abstract in construction, derived primarily from the manipulation and development of a few, simple musical objects. The title and overall structure refer to the musical essay form as first conceived by the American composer Samuel Barber.1995
-To Be Loved: Essay For Orchestra Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Hall, Detroit Michigan, July 9, 1995 (World Premiere)
-Symphony No. 5 Five Shades of A Woman Dressed in Black University Of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Power Center Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Feb. 3-6, 1995
-Symphony No.4 Streams Of Consciousness *
Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, Community Center Theater, Sacramento California Jan. 16, 1995.
Minnesota Symphonia, Basilica of Minneapolis, April 24, 1994
-Primal Instincts Concerto For Percussion and Orchestra *
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Circle City Theater, Indianapolis, Feb.3,1995
Butler University Symphony Orchestra, Clowes Memorial Hall April 30, 1995
Tufts University Symphony Orchestra, Cohen Auditorium, Medford Ma. Feb. 24,1995 (Note; Primal Instincts was performed 13 times in the 1994/95 Indianapolis Symphony season)
-E yes (A Musical)
October 5-8;12-15 1995, American Cabaret Theater, Indianapolis, IN
-A Question Mark And The Word Attached How? (For High Voice and Piano) School of Music Recital Hall, July 28, 1995