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Samuel Barber: An American Romantic - The Choral Music of Samuel Barber / Conspirare

Album Summary

>Barber, Samuel : Twelfth Night, for 4 voices. Op. 42/1
>Barber, Samuel : To Be Sung on the Water, for 4 voices, Op. 42/2
>Barber, Samuel : The Virgin Martyrs, Op. 8 no 1
>Barber, Samuel : Let Down the Bars, O Death, Op. 8 no 2
>Barber, Samuel : Reincarnations, for 4 voices, Op. 16
>Barber, Samuel : A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, for male chorus & 3 tympani, Op. 15
>Barber, Samuel : Songs (4), Op. 13
>Barber, Samuel : Agnus Dei
>Barber, Samuel : The Lovers, for baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 43
>Barber, Samuel : Easter Chorale
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

On their new recording Samuel Barber - An American Romantic, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare honor the great composer with a selection of some of his finest choral works. Barber's lyrical melodies and unabashed romanticism have earned him a cherished place in the pantheon of 20th-century composers. Featured here are the beloved Agnus Dei (choral version of the famous Adagio for Strings) and other favorites such as Reincarnations and Sure on this Shining Night. The recording also presents two world premières. Barber's Easter Chorale and the sensual, passionate The Lovers on poetry by Pablo Neruda are heard here in new versions for chamber ensemble and choir prepared especially for Conspirare by composer Robert Kyr.

American Record Guide, January/February 2013
Last but not least is Conspirare's 'Agnus Dei', which has quickly become my favorite account of the spellbinding choral version of Barber's Adagio for Strings. Listen to the way the solo soprano voice floats in out of her section, crescendos through the lower note, then decrescendos upward as she plucks the high C-flat out of the air. If you love the Allegri Miserere, give this a try! The entire anthology is one of those ventures where everything went perfectly, including Harmonia Mundi's inclusion of a classy and informative booklet. This will anchor the Barber section of your record collection for years to come.

International Record Review, September 2012
The performance is a triumph, superbly well sung by Company Voices, a professional chamber choir that forms one part of the choral ensemble Conspirare.

MusicWeb International, October 2012
Performances throughout the programme are exemplary, the recorded sound is excellent - I listened in conventional CD format - and the documentation, which is in English, French and German is first class and beautifully laid out. This is an important disc for all devotees of Samuel Barber's music.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2012
The 36 professional of the America choir Conspirare sing with good tuning and clear articulation, their voices beautifully blended in a warm acoustic...Craig Hella Johnson directs a sympathetic performance, with a good team of step-out soloists, led by baritone David Farwig.

Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2012
These are exemplary performances and Johnson represents every nuance of Barber's expression markings...Barber's choral output now has the attention it deserves.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, Indiana (09/2011).



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Works Details

>Barber, Samuel : Twelfth Night, for 4 voices. Op. 42/1
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Ensemble: Conspirare
  • Running Time: 3 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1968

>Barber, Samuel : To Be Sung on the Water, for 4 voices, Op. 42/2
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 3 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1968

>Barber, Samuel : The Virgin Martyrs, Op. 8 no 1
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 4 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1935

>Barber, Samuel : Let Down the Bars, O Death, Op. 8 no 2
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 2 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Barber, Samuel : Reincarnations, for 4 voices, Op. 16
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 10 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1937-1940

>Barber, Samuel : A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, for male chorus & 3 tympani, Op. 15
  • Performers: Matthew Tresler; Thomas Burritt (Timpani)
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 6 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940

>Barber, Samuel : Songs (4), Op. 13
  • Performer: Faith Debow (Piano)
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 2 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1938

>Barber, Samuel : Agnus Dei
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 8 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1967

>Barber, Samuel : The Lovers, for baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 43
  • Performers: Karen Clarke (Violin); Nathaniel Brickens (Trombone); Melanie Punter (Double Bass); Vangel Tangarov (Clarinet); Gregory Sauer (Cello); Faith Debow (Piano); Jacquelyn Venter (Harp); Adah Jones (Flute); Rebecca Henderson (Oboe); Bruce Williams (Viola); Katie Wolfe (Violin); Tom Burritt (Percussion); Patrick Hughes (Horn); Kristin Wolfe-Jensen (Bassoon); Brian Shaw (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 32 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1971

>Barber, Samuel : Easter Chorale
  • Performers: Melanie Punter (Double Bass); Vangel Tangarov (Clarinet); Kristin Wolfe-Jensen (Bassoon); Brian Shaw (Trumpet); Gregory Sauer (Cello); Faith Debow (Piano); Jacquelyn Venter (Harp); Adah Jones (Flute); Patrick Hughes (Horn); Rebecca Henderson (Oboe); Bruce Williams (Viola); Katie Wolfe (Violin); Tom Burritt (Percussion); Karen Clarke (Violin); Nathaniel Brickens (Trombone)
  • Conductor: Craig Hella-Johnson
  • Running Time: 3 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1964