Samuel Barber was born a hundred years ago today. If he had only written Knoxville: Summer of 1915 he would still be important in my book. It is the perfect marriage of music and text, namely, James Agee’s recollections of his childhood.
But Barber, of course, wrote much more. Yesterday, for example, I listened to Gil Shaham’s wonderful recording of Barber’s Violin Concerto, which deserves a place in the regular concert repertoire.
Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber.
UPDATE: When I arrived at work this morning, I noticed that Exploring Music this week is devoted to Samuel Barber. Tomorrow, in fact, the show will feature Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and the fabulous Summer Music for Woodwind Quintet. Friday’s show will have the Piano Concerto played by John Browning – a recording I have on CD.