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Barber: Hermit Songs / Knoxville: Summer of 1915 / Two Scenes from Antony & Cleopatra

Samuel Barber , Thomas Schippers , Leontyne Price Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 17 Songs, 1994 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1994 --  

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: At Saint Patrick's PurgatoryLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 1:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: Church Bell at NightLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber0:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Saint Ita's VisionLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: The Heavenly BanquetLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 1:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: The CrucifixionLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: Sea-SnatchLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber0:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: PromiscuityLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber0:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Monk and His CatLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: The Praises of GodLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber0:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Hermit Songs, Op. 29: The Desire for HermitageLeontyne Price;Samuel Barber 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Sleep Now, Op. 10, No. 2Leontyne Price;Samuel Barber 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Daisies, Op. 2, No. 1Leontyne Price;Samuel Barber0:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Nocturne, Op. 13, No. 4Leontyne Price;Samuel Barber 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Nuvoletta, Op. 25Leontyne Price;Samuel Barber 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24Leontyne Price;Thomas Schippers16:19Album Only
listen16. Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 40: Give Me Some MusicLeontyne Price;Thomas Schippers 8:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Give Me My RobeLeontyne Price;Thomas Schippers 9:19$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: Leontyne Price
  • Conductor: Thomas Schippers
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (May 10, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003FNF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,657 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Early in her career, Leontyne Price formed an artistic liaison with Samuel Barber that resulted in his composing the female lead in Antony and Cleopatra for her. The disastrous premiere of that opera prevented Price from making a complete recording--a tragic loss in my opinion. She did record excerpts, however, and we at least have this disc to document these and the many other Barber works that she performed with incomparable artistry. Opera singing being what it is, Price didn't often have the chance to sing in English, so these performances are not only historically important, they are uniquely communicative as well. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who but Price can sing Knoxville? February 22, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Making a convincing recording of Barber's Knoxville is much more difficult than, as many late 20th-century vocalists seem to believe, simply exploiting the beauty of Barber's music. We all know that Barber had this gift for the melodic, a fusion of Romanticism and Americana that succeeds on its own terms. Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is special in Barber's output, though, for there is a sense of the human experience he captures in his setting that is so rare that it is called genius when recognized. Mozart had this gift in his late operas, as did Verdi. For Barber, it may be only this one piece that reveals in such shattering terms all the rich complexity and tragedy of the American experience.
Leontyne Price understands this experience and infuses her every note and word with it, here sounding childish and innocent, here sounding mournful in a way that rings true without melodrama. The ways in which Price accomplishes this feat have much to do both with the clarity of her diction and with the nature of the tone she employs--definitely an American over a European sound. Schippers and the New Philharmonia Orchestra provide an adequate ensemble, though by no means one matched to Price's ability to interpret the work. One can only imagine a coupling of Price and Leonard Bernstein, even with the NYP; such a recording would be the stuff of legend.
As it stands, we have this gorgeous document of the Barber/Price collaboration and as stunning an interpretation on the part of Price as we do on the part of Barber for James Agee's profoundly moving text. Though the Hermit Songs are delightful and occasionally wonderful listening and the Antony and Cleopatra good to have, the great worth of the CD rides on this recording of Knoxville. I believe it to be the best we have.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Price sings songs and arias written for her!!! December 4, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This CD on which Leontyne Price memorializes many of the songs and arias composed by Sam Barber with her in mind should be in every collection of those who appreciate Barber's vocal music and the magnificent voice of one of the world's greatest singers of the 20th century. The collaboration of Barber and Price on the "Hermit Songs" and others reveals the composer's affection for the singer and the singer's understanding of the dramatic intent of the word and music. Alone, Price's interpretation of "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" is worth the price of the CD; it is singularly exquisite and cannot be matched! Price brings unmatched beauty, power, and understanding to the arias from "Anthony and Cleopatra" -- an opera composed with her voice in mind. It is indeed sad that Price never recorded "Vanessa," nor the song cycle "Despite and Still," nor the hauntingly beautiful "Sure on this Shining Night." You will not be disappointed if you buy this CD.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Voice of the Century October 8, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
While there is no question that Leontyne's opulent voice - here young and lustrous in the "Hermit Songs" recital (1953!) would have been a magnet for any composer, her affinity for Barber is clear, and his for her. The studio recording of the "Hermit Songs" has a better acoustic, but this one is just as thrilling in interpretation, and a bit less studied - and it has the two James Joyce settings, as well.

The "Knoxville" is beautifully judged - soft and swinging to start, then opening up into the drama and poetry of the middle and late sections. The Eleanor Steber original commission will always set the standard, but Price expands it that much farther, with longer phrases, and an ineffable langour that both she and Steber identified as the "Southern" stamp on this music. It's universal, as far as I am concerned, but it exalts and breaks the heart at the same time. Agee and Barber drink from the same fountain here.

I have never heard the entire "Anthony & Cleopatra", again written for Price, so I can't judge the work as a whole, just these two numbers. I have a special affection for the first scene, however - "Give Me Some Music" shows Price, in her absolute vocal prime, complete mistress of color and mood, and the motive, "My man of men" reappears in her final, regal, death scene. When she sings "O happy horse/ who bears the weight of Antony!" - I swear, my hair curls, no matter how many times I hear it.

In short, gotta have it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Barber Disc March 13, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What a fabulous collection of music by Samuel Barber. Leontyne Price is at her absolute best in the songs. The entire Hermit Songs are here with four others. These recordings are of particular interest since Ms. Price performs with Samuel Barber at the piano. It is interesting to compare these recordings to the latter ones sung by Cheyrl Studer with John Browning at the piano for tempo changes.
The recording of Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is arguable the best of those available. Ms. Price sings with great sensitivity and Thomas Schippers and the New Philharmonia provide excellent support. Ms. Price said that Knoxville reminded her of her own childhood, and her commitment to the music comes through. I have the recording of Knoxville sung by Eleanor Steber, who commissioned this work, but I have always regarded the Price recording as the one to have.
The two excerpts from Antony and Cleopatra are of great interest since Ms. Price sang the role of Cleopatra at the premiere in 1966. Her performance here, also conducted by Schippers, is wonderful. The transfer to CD of these recordings is excellent. Perhaps the only down side is that the Hermit Songs were performed before an audience so there is applause between each song. After a while, this becomes monotonous. This disc is a must for anyone interested in Barber's music, and in particular for Knoxville.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It is wonderful coming from another singer
I have had a copy for years. It is wonderful coming from another singer. She makes Barber's music sound like Puccini in English. Read more
Published 1 month ago by natasha Dolan
5.0 out of 5 stars price is fantastic and was glad it was available
Both Leontyne Price and Barber are great musicians and to have them team up is fantastic. Also thought price was fantastic. Thank you, Amazon.
Published 11 months ago by Sharon H. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Price/Barber!!
Classic Leontyne Price late 1960s release featuring superb performances of Samuel Barber's music, including arias composed for Price by Barber for the MET's new opera house opening... Read more
Published 15 months ago by JHB-4
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Leontyne Price recordings of Barber, superseded Knoxville,...
Leontyne Price was intimately involved with Samuel Barber's music throughout her career. This disc is a valuable historical document, combining songs done with the composer at the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by jt52
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beautiful
I never tire of this recording and find myself listening to it frequently. It is absolutely beautiful. From 2 of America's best.
Published 20 months ago by Scott A. Cronk
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan
Samuel Barber(1910-1981), an American composer who studied piano, composition and singing at the prestigious Curtis... Read more
Published on February 27, 2007 by George Peabody
3.0 out of 5 stars Fab voice, OK music
What is it that everyone seems to adore about Samuel Barber's music for voice. The man clearly wrote some absolutely divine orchestral pieces, there's no disputing that. Read more
Published on August 6, 2001 by Kwame Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars All of Leontyne Price's Samuel Barber recording on one CD
Let me add to what was already mentioned regarding this CD release. Miss Price recorded Barber's The Hermit Songs after she premiered them in New York in the early 50's. Read more
Published on December 19, 2000 by cruisewhiz
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