Samuel Barber Essay

508 Words 3 Pages
Samuel Barber

Samuel Barber's music, wonderfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex and also harmonically rich. Samuel Barber born, March 9, 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He wrote his first piece at age seven and attempted his first opera at age ten. At the age of fourteen he entered the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied voice, piano and composition. Later he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner. At Curtis Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied liberetti from Barbers Operas, "Vanessa", which Barber had won a Pulitzer Prize for. Menotti
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Schoenburg, and old guard vs. modern. Barber seemed to just write music, and in doing so became controversial, someone to be attacked or defended. Barber distinguished himself as a melodist. Almost everything he has written has at least one gorgeous tune or memorable theme. His melodic emphasis led certain critics to label him as "neo-romantic", a word that doesn't mean all that much. Almost nothing he wrote could have been produced in the romantic era. The harmonies are too complex and sometimes extremely dissonant. The approach to form is a modern as Igor Stravinsky's, and the orchestration is usually quite experimental. His music sounds full and rich simply mean that the experiment succeeds. Although no prodigy, Barber nevertheless made his mark early. Op.1, "Serenade" for string quartet (later orchestrated for strings), he wrote that piece while attending the Curtis Institute. In his early work, Barber taps into this new lyricism in piece after piece. Good examples include, "Music for a Scene from Shelly", "Symphony No.1", first essay for orchestra, cello sonatas, string quartets, the choral "Reincarnations", and the violin concerto. Barber spent 1942 to 1945 in the United States Army Air Force, fighting with musical forms rather than enemy troops. He was commissioned to write a symphony, his second, which employed radio signals along with the normal instruments. Thoroughly fed up with any remainder of hostilities, he discarded the work after the

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