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Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music Paperback – May 12, 1994
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From Library Journal
- Eugene Gaub, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Would that every American composer might be as well served as is Samuel Barber by Barbara Heyman, whose book will, as critic Michael Steinberg observed, 'be the foundation of all Barber scholarship forever.'...A bold claim, but one borne out by a careful reading of Heyman's text."--Choice
"We can be grateful for Barbara Heyman's exhaustive assemblage of fact and opinion."--Yale Review
"So striking and sound in its discussion of his works that it gives a hefty boost to Barber scholarship and suggests a model for other such studies....A clear, rich, and accessible pool of indispensable information....The book, like the composer, emerges as a boon and a triumph."--Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter
"Barbara Heyman has worked diligently and intelligently to produce a book which will be the foundation of all Barber scholarship forever, to which all writers on American music will be turning constantly and for which we shall be immensely grateful. I was completely absorbed in the reading of it."--Michael Steinberg, San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra
"[A] comprehensive study. [Heyman] has brought to bear a formidable knowledge of Barber's music and its genesis, together with a sympathetic appreciation of his life, to produce a portrait which, in factual terms at least, may be considered definitive."--Music and Letters
"[Heyman] brings together a great amount of detail and documentation that makes this book a necessary point of reference."--The Musical Times
"Here is a cornicopia of data on the works of Samuel Barber....Through diligent investigation of and liberal quotations from letters, interviews, programs, reviews, books, articles, marginalia, and private tapes and films, Barbara Heyman gives us all manner of details about the background, performances, recordings, and reception of all Barber's compositions....The detail is virtually staggering....The abundance of interesting photographs and the presence of so many intelligently selected musical examples from manuscripts and published scores is laudable....This book will be consulted for many generations because of its marvelous, original data on Barber's works."--American Music
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Top Customer Reviews
Theory hogs, like me, may want a few more examples--but if so, we're just being greedy. The author's analyses of the works are well-done, cursory without being useless. She neither fawns over her subject, nor butchers him. Perhaps a bit more biographical information would be nice--Barber's love life is always touched upon at tangents, never explained. But maybe such information is simply not to be found.
The esoteric nature of the subject precludes me from recommending it generally--but for anyone with the slightest interest in Mr. Barber, this is certainly one of the best resources out there.
And what do we say of Samuel? Reactionary, fuddy-duddy? Snobbish European turning his back on his American home, or a man who simply recognizes good music when he hears it? Or, like Brahms, a fusion of past and present who only appears conservative when compared with the silly extremists? I lean towards the latter.
Barber enjoyed Brahms, and there's a similarity stapling the two together here. Both took a rich harmonic and modern language, Brahms with his soup of pivot chords and chromatic thirds, Barber with his polychords, changing meters, and quartal implications, reinvigorating ideas and forms that some describe as depleted. And both were, in some sense, fearless.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of course this bids to be the "standard biography" - life and works. Some parts more interesting; some parts more musically technical. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Roger Petrich
Based on primary material, this book covers the life and work of Mr Barber, though with more emphasis on the "life" than analysis of the "work. Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by Roger Petrich
Being a fan of (some of) Barber's music, I was interested in finding out more about him. I suspect an academic will find this book satisfying - it goes through his works in... Read morePublished on March 15, 2007 by Peter H