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Barber: Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto

Samuel Barber , Leonard Slatkin , Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra , John Browning Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Price: $32.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 1991 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1991 $32.49  

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. Symphony No. 1, Op. 9/Allegro ma non troppoLeonard Slatkin 7:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony No. 1, Op. 9/Allegro moltoLeonard Slatkin 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony No. 1, Op. 9/Andante tranquilloLeonard Slatkin 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 1, Op. 9/Con moto (Passacaglia)Leonard Slatkin 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Piano Concerto, Op. 38/Allegro appassionatoJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin14:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Piano Concerto, Op. 38/Canzone: ModeratoJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 7:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Piano Concerto, Op. 38/Allegro moltoJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 6:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/WaltzJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/SchottischeJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/Pas de deuxJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 4:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/Two-StepJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/Hesitation-TangoJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Souvenirs, Op. 28 (For Piano Four-Hands)/GalopJohn Browning;Leonard Slatkin 2:16$0.99  Buy MP3 


Frequently Bought Together

Barber: Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto + Concertos
Price for both: $44.69

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  • Concertos $12.20


Product Details

  • Performer: John Browning
  • Orchestra: Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (May 10, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA / BMG
  • ASIN: B000003F3J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,350 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Both major works on this release are rarely performed and rarely recorded--but they shouldn't be. The First Symphony can stand right beside Aaron Copland's Third Symphony and Roy Harris's Third Symphony. In fact, Barber's has more complications than either of the other works, but is structurally and tonally their equal. The Piano Concerto was itself premiered by John Browning, who had considerable input on the work, along with a last-minute suggestion in the final movement from the great Vladimir Horowitz that allowed a human being to actually play it. It's no cakewalk and should have more currency than it does. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful symphony, performance matches! January 27, 2000
Format:Audio CD
The Piano Concerto is well done, with excellent contributions from all parties. If you are expecting something like Barber's Violin Concerto played on the piano, you will be disappointed; however, if you approach the work without any preconceptions, you stand to be greatly rewarded.
Souvenirs isn't my favorite Barber, but it is well played by Browning and Slatkin at the keyboard.
However, the disc offers quite a find to me, and that is the performance of the symphony. Barber's composition is thrilling and gripping in both I and II, while III and IV (note that it is a one mov't work divided into four parts)have Barber's trademarks of lyricism and power. I and II are appropriately executed by the performers, while III is especially beautiful, with a wonderful solo oboe and a hushed string accompaniment reminiscient of Dvorak's Sym. 9, mov't II (also the same vein as the similarly-scored slow mov't of Barber's Violin Concerto? Same idea!), with an overwhelming transition to IV, a Passacaglia that makes you believe in the form. Slatkin and St. Louis leave simple professionalism behind to reach a transcendence in playing and interpretation of this work that is stunning. The contribution of the solo oboe in III is remarkable, as is the responsiveness of each player/section to the music, playing like chamber musicians. The transition to III is not only emotionally overwhelming, but packed with goosebumps and a tear. Their performance of IV convinces you that the tear was not shed in vain, and the more should be coming! (Okay, maybe that's over the top, but this music and performance really move me!). While charges of pedestrian interpretation and matter-of-fact, too brisk tempi can be sometimes levelled against Slatkin, here is hardly the case.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Browning's Barber Concerto is First Rate! March 27, 2001
Format:Audio CD
To have John Browning's interpretation (the concerto was written for him) on digital format is a priceless treasure. Samuel Barber was a devoted fan of Browning, and it would seem that Browning had an incomprehensible understanding of Barber's music. This collaberation makes for an exciting recording of an incredibly complex piece of music! The performance of the Symphony is straightforward and uncomplicated, though it lacks the luster of the Concerto performance. Overall, 5 stars!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barber enthusiasts, here you go. December 3, 1999
Format:Audio CD
John Browning, for whom the concerto was written brings Barber's imprimatur to this recording, along with great energy and sensitivity. The last two movements are ethereal and exhilirating, respectively. This piece displays some of the thorny modernity for which Barber is not so well known. The Symphony, an earlier composition, is also performed with great power by the orchestra under Slatkin's direction. If Brahms can be seen as the heir to Beethoven, combining Romantic sentiment with classical rigor, Barber picks up this thread in this symphony, a one movement (with four sections) piece built with great economy around a single theme. The finale, a passcaglia, recalls Brahms' fourth symphony. The slow movement is trademark Barber lyricism, while the scherzo is a bit spikier and quite exciting. Slatkin is becoming a premiere interpreter of American music and the more I hear, the more I'm impressed with him. For anyone who wants to get a little more in-depth than the Adagio and the Violin concerto, this is an excellent place to start.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable for Barber devotees June 13, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Barber's Symphony No. 1 is an early yet mature work of unrelenting seriousness, melodic richness and genuine power. Though not entirely free of cliche, this is a very heart-felt and satisfying 21-minute work, in four loosely connected movements.
The Piano Concerto strikes me as being less inspired, more of a work to admire than to love. Certainly Barber doesn't lavish the same lyrical affection on the piano that he did on the violin or the cello in his respective concerti for those instruments; by design, the piano concerto does not exploit the piano as a vehicle for showy display. For me, the angular motif introduced by the piano at the beginning of the first movement wears out its welcome, so often it is repeated. The second movement is more lyrical, more like the Barber of "Adagio for Strings" vintage. The third movement is high-energy and percussive with a skillful interplay between soloist and orchestra.
The encore is Souvenirs, an incidental work of "pure nostalgia" for piano duet. Slatkin joins Browning at the piano here and they make the music sound completely improvisatory, like they're making it up as they go along. It's a delightfully lightweight but inventively melodic suite.
All in all, this is a disc that Barber enthusiasts will want. With good sound and performances, it can certainly be recommended to a broader range of collectors as well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two very worthwhile Barber revivals June 12, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Leonard Slatkin was the house conductor of American music in the Eighties for both EMI and RCA. Along iwth his premiere recording of the Corigliano Sym. #1, this revival of two major Barber works was Slatkin's finest hour. American symphonies around WW II rested on the shoulders of serious-minded composers now rarely played (Walter Piston, William Schuman, David Diamond, Roy Harris), and in that less-than-towering landscape the Barber First sounded confident, propulsive, optimistic, and full of song. What could be better? The work was played everywhere and recorded by no less than Bruno Walter.

If its idiom now seems dated, I don't think it matters much. The work's original strengths are still present, particularly Barber's haunting aria for oboe in the slow movement. This composer was never one for structure, but at 21 min. the symphony has no time to wander and makes a great first impression. Slatkin's reading is engaging and has the benefit of gorgeous sonics from BMG.

The Piano Concerto, at half an hour, does wander too much, and at times when no ideas occur to him, Barber thorws in fingering frills and pointless ornamentation. John Browning, the dedicatee, was at his height when he premiered the work in 1962. Since then his career has waned. I can't tell why given how beautifully he plays here, with both power and lyricism. Barber ventures a shade more into modernism, with clashing dissonances between piano and orchestra, and the effect is more bracing than the symphny. the high point of the concerto is the slow movement, where the melody and its devlopment are quite mysteriously woven. It's a shame that the piano concerto couldn't be ten minutes shorter, because it is otherwise a piece that draws you in.
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