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Barber: Piano Concerto / Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance

Samuel Barber , Marin Alsop , Royal Scottish National , Stephen Prutsman Audio CD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $10.81 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 6 Songs, 2002 $5.34  
Audio CD, 2002 $10.81  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Piano Concerto, Op. 38: I. Allegro appassionatoStephen Prutsman13:47$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Piano Concerto, Op. 38: II. Canzone: ModeratoStephen Prutsman 6:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Piano Concerto, Op. 38: III. Allegro moltoStephen Prutsman 6:50$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Die natali, Op. 37Marin Alsop17:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, Op. 23aMarin Alsop12:47$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Commando MarchMarin Alsop 3:46$0.89  Buy MP3 


Frequently Bought Together

Barber: Piano Concerto / Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance + Samuel Barber: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Cello Concerto + Barber: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1: Overture, The School for Scandal, Op. 5 / Symphony No. 1, Op,. 9 / First Essay for Orchestra, Op. 12 / Symphony No. 2, Op;. 19
Price for all three: $31.59

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Product Details

  • Performer: Stephen Prutsman
  • Orchestra: Royal Scottish National
  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (October 22, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00006GO4C
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,600 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(7)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Barber Rarities December 6, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This disc is another installment in the Naxos Barber series, conducted by Marin Alsop. It has some interesting, little-heard music: Die Natalie, variations on Christmas carols, and the Commando March. Both show Barber's versatility and Die Natalie contains some deft counterpoint as Barber creates some remarkable music on those themes.
The Piano concerto is well played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the soloist, Stephan Prutsman. Mr. Prutsman is a very gifted pianist and has an interesting, more aggressive approach to the concerto. This recording is comparable to those by John Browning, the dedicatee of the concerto, but this recording is not quite as lyrical as Browning and has a harder edge to the playing.
Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, part of a longer ballet written for Martha Graham, is well played but cannot match the recording by Thomas Schippers for its intensity and atmosphere of fear. So although these are not among the best recording they are of interest and are appealing. The reasonable price for this disc and the overall quality recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minor Barber, well served January 13, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
To be perfectly honest, Barber's piano concerto is by some distance the weakest of Samuel Barber's three major concertos (for violin, cello, and piano, respectively), but it is still a very fine work. Technically the solo part is one of the less challenging concertos in the repertoire; nevertheless, it still sounds (at least intermittently) dazzlingly brilliant. It also contains several very good ideas, and even though they sometimes overstay their welcome, Barber does in general deploy them skillfully and effectively. It receives a powerful and very compelling performance here by Stephen Prutsman - darker and more intense than some other versions, but the approach is well-judged and it is played with brilliance and a light touch where required. He is excellently accompanied by the superb contributions of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Alsop.

The performances are also generally good in the remaining work, though the musical rewards are a little variable. Die Natali (on Christmas themes) is dangerously empty of content - it is probably the weakest Barber work I have heard and I cannot imagine that it would appeal to anyone but the most hardcore Barber fan. The Meditation and Dance of Vengeance from the ballet Médea is a different matter; a grimly intense set it may not in the end be truly memorable, but it is certainly worth hearing, although the performance at hand is stronger on grimness than momentum (it could really need some more ferocity, although the orchestral playing is very good). The Commando March is a patriotic, lightweight work, but enjoyable enough and brilliantly dispatched. The sound is very good, and this is all in all a recommendable release - certainly a worthy addition to this important series.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite of the set August 24, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This CD pretty much exemplifies the rest of the Naxos set under Alsop -- decent, competent performances, even if they're not authoritative. Even with the Pulitzer prize, Barber's Piano Concerto is my least favorite of his major works -- his earlier works from the early 1940's (Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, 2nd Symphony) I think are much more appealing. While the Concerto recording here isn't bad, it puts dramatic gestures over proper musical phrasing. I definitely prefer John Browning's recording with Slatkin over this one, even if Alsop presents a different approach; I just don't think it's well executed and it comes off sounding a little sloppy and unpolished.

Die Natalie is a really marginal work. The "Orientalism" that one of the other reviewer refers to is just a cheap and tacky sound effect meant to dress up a work that is overall pretty weak and uninteresting.

Medea's Dance of Vengeance comes up very flat here. I definitely agree with other reviewers that point out that Alsop and the Scottish Orchestra don't push the momentum through to the end. It brings just enough to the table for me to think how much better it would have been if they brought up the tempo a little in the last few pages of the score.

And maybe I'm just a cornball and a sucker for big melodies, but I really like the Commando March. "Don't-ask-don't-tell" policies aside, I think it's a fun work that posesses a unequivocal heroism that isn't common in Barber's output. It's an interesting (but brief) counterpoint to his more ambivalent and tragic wartime 2nd Symphony that was written at the same time.

I recommend the disc for the completists and the Commando March, but I would also be on the lookout for other versions of some of these works.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naxos/Alsop continues its excellent Barber series November 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Marin Alsop and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra appear to be continuing their complete traversal of Samuel Barber's orchestral works with the fourth volume of the set. There have been some quibbles about tempi in the earlier volumes, particularly of the School for Scandal overture, but there is no such problem here.
The centerpiece of this CD is the Piano Concerto. This concerto was written for John Browning and he has played it literally hundreds of times over the past four decades; he has recorded it several times. I listened to his most recent recording with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony in order to compare it with the present recording, and I have to say that Stephen Prutsman, the pianist on this disc, has nothing to apologize for. Whereas Browning's treatment seems a bit more settled, a bit more sedate, Prutsman's playing is more brilliant, somewhat more percussive, and equally satisfying. The piano is recorded rather more forward on this Naxos disc. I would have to give Browning the edge in the poetic second movement, but in the more vigorous sections Prutsman seems more energized.
The Die Natali is a Christmas piece, written at about the same time as the Piano Concerto. It treats such familiar Christmas carols as O come, O come, Emmanuel; Lo, how a rose e'er blooming; God rest ye merry, Gentlemen; We three kings; Good King Wenceslas. There is even a section where O come, O come, Emmanuel is played over an ostinato taken from Adeste fideles. The biggest climax is based on Joy to the world, and then Silent Night closes the piece quietly. Do not mistakenly believe that this is simply a medley of Christmas tunes--far from it; it is an extremely skillful piece that utilizes all manner of contrapuntal and harmonic devices to create a satisfying symphonic whole.
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