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Barber: Piano Concerto / Violin Concerto / Adagio for Strings / Second Essay for Orchestra CD


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Product details

  • Performer: Isaac Stern, John Browning
  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein, George Szell, Eugene Ormandy, Thomas Schippers
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (19 Sep 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000266KG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,168 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Not Found - Barber: Orchestral Works

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on 17 April 2000
This has been a long time in coming. This is the original--and by far the best--recording of the Piano Concerto. Browning made an early 90s "comeback" recording but most of the fire has long gone out, and having Leonard Slatkin as his conductor didn't help things. The printed score, which I have, actually tells the musicians to play the first movement **arrogantly.** This Browning/Szell collaboration is the only recording that does this. The virtuosity is incredible, thrilling, hair-raising. The color is intense--Barber was a great orchestrator. Orchestras don't play like this today--they're too afraid. This is essential stuff for any classical library, but for some reason, after the initial buzz generated by the Pulitzer, this work faded from the repertoire, while lesser works remain. A great loss.
The other pieces are less satisfying, though still important. The Violin Concerto receives a fine reading, though this piece has never seemed indespensible to me. The shorter pieces have character, but it's the famous Adagio for Strings that's the surprise. With Eugene Ormandy and the "Philadelphia Sound" Orchestra here, you'd think this would be a definitive document, given their long personal history with Samuel Barber, but I think it comes up rather flat. The sound could be better too--it's clear Sony didn't go to original masters for any of these recordings, but just used off-the-shelf copies with little in the way of remastering. The liner notes are also poor and the cover....can anyone make sense of it? (Looks like either a manhole cover or a garbage can lid.) Still, this is a valuable CD if only for the Piano Concerto, which has never been issued on CD...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lars Wichmann on 21 April 2001
I originally bought this CD, because I had heard the rather famous Adagio for strings. Thus, I was a bit disappointed, because it seems flat and I recall far better recordings than this. However, the violin concerto really sent a cold shiver down my back. The violinist makes an extraordinary good job, and the music is so grandour and compelling. Samuel Barber is so much more than just the Adagio for strings. I can certainly recommend this CD, also to other Barber novices.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar 2000
I really enjoyed the piano and violin concerti - having only heard excerpts before. The performances are good and the recording OK - 1960's, but with good conductors and soloists. The Essay for orchestra was a revalation!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Still the finest 29 April 2014
By Fred Granlund - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
These classic recordings from the old Columbia catalog have long been the benchmarks for their respective works. The premiere recording of the Piano Concerto, with the same team who gave its first performance, has an intensity and vitality unmatched by any more recent version, and Stern and Bernstein simply own the Violin Concerto, in a knowing and passionate reading that leaves nothing unsaid (frankly, it's worth the price of admission just to hear Harold Gomberg play the long, heartbreaking oboe solo that opens the second movement). The shorter works are also heard in peerless performances, and the 60's recordings hold up well. Only the Schippers recordings are beginning to sound a bit diffuse (ironically, the most recent of the current batch) - but there are many excellent versions of those two chestnuts available for those who insist on the highest "fi." Indispensable and priceless.
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