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Samuel Barber: Capricorn Concerto; A Hand of Bridge; Intermezzo from Vanessa [CD]

Samuel Barber Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Samuel Barber: Capricorn Concerto; A Hand of Bridge; Intermezzo from Vanessa + Samuel Barber: Orchestral Works, Vol.2 + Barber: Piano Concerto
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (1 Nov 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000675OJ4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,187 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Capricorn Concerto
2. A Hand of Bridge
3. Mutations from Bach
4. Intermezzo
5. Canzonetta
6. Fadograph

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Need to be experienced 21 April 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've been interested in this disc for the date "A Hand of Bridge" was written. It's a witty small opera, that could be understood easily without visual performance. Capricorn Concerto and Intermezzo from Vanessa are just things that strengthened my love to Barber's music, so conservatively (but still new and somewhat experimental) beautiful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars smooth & gentle intelligence 2 April 2013
By allenr
Format:Audio CD
Samuel Barber at his most melodious
though his mini-opera satire A Hand of Bridge (10 minutes) will not be to everyone's taste.
The elegiac Canzonetta is his last major piece, written when he knew he was dying,
&, of course, the Vanessa intermezzo is a quietly intense gem.
Marin Alsop very sympatico with Barber's sound world.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Unfamiliar, but Worthy, Orchestral Music by Barber 14 Mar 2005
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the last in the series of Barber's orchestral music with Marin Alsop conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. It includes one very familiar work--the Capricorn Concerto--and several that are almost never heard, including his witty 9-minute one act opera, 'A Hand of Bridge.' Of these only the Capricorn has had multiple modern recordings as far as I'm aware. And Alsop's and the RSNO's performance of this sprightly piece, whose instrumentation is the same as that of Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto (trumpet, oboe, flute, strings), is as good as any I've heard. I've always been taken with its third movement, with its virtuoso trumpet part, and we are not let down by trumpeter John Gracie. As good as he is, oboist Stéphane Rancourt and flutist Karen Jones are his equals.

'A Hand of Bridge' was composed for the Spoleto Festival, founded by Barber's long-time companion Gian-Carlo Menotti, who wrote the libretto for it. It is for four singers who alternate intoning the business of bidding and playing a hand of bridge and singing arioso internal monologs mostly about the other players. It is nicely done here, but Naxos would have done us a favor by printing the libretto in the jewel box insert because even though it is in English, too many words are lost when sung. The excellent soloists are Lesley Craigie, soprano, Roderick Williams, bass, Louise Winter, mezzo, and Simon Wall, tenor.

'Mutations from Bach,' (sometimes called 'Meditation on a theme of Bach'), written late in Barber's life and for his own amusement, is for brass and timpani. This six-minute piece presents four harmonizations of the plainsong 'Christ, thou lamb of God' starting with that of Joachim Decker from the 17th century, then Bach's harmonization (from BWV 23, the cantata 'Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn'), then Barber's own, followed by a repeat of the Decker. They are all of course orchestrated by Barber for brass (4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, plus timpani). This is an extraordinarily beautiful work and is played gorgeously here by members of the RSNO.

Next is the 'Intermezzo' from Barber's beautiful opera 'Vanessa' (which has been taken into the repertoire of many opera companies and which has in the past year had two excellent new recordings). The Intermezzo comes in Act III and is a heartbreaking psychological portrait of the spurned Vanessa. I love this piece (well, I love the whole opera, truth be told) and this performance is both wrenching and consoling. Lovely.

The last work Barber attempted was a concerto for oboe and strings. It was supposed to be for Harold Gomberg, the long-time principal oboe of the New York Philharmonic. But Barber did not live to finish it. Indeed, he wrote only one movement and even that had to be completed by his student, Charles Turner. It is an elegiac pastorale in which the oboe sings as a great soprano might. I'd never heard it before and fell in love with it immediately. It is spare, haunting, echt-Barber with those long romantic lines, those harmonic cross-relations so Bachian and yet so modern. Oboist Stéphane Rancourt plays like an angel, with unearthly breath control, sensitive phrasing, subtle dynamic variation, and lovely tone. This is a nine-minute aria that will tear your heart out.

Finally, the almost impressionistic 'Fadograph of a Yestern Scene.' The title is taken from Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake.' That evocative title tells us precisely what to expect in this nostalgic and dreamlike reminiscence of other times. In some sense it is a wordless companion to Barber's other nostalgic masterpiece, 'Knoxville: Summer of 1915.' A glorious end to a glorious series of recordings by Alsop and the RSNO. There is no a bad performance in the whole six CD series. I would guess that eventually Naxos will combine them into a boxed set, but why wait?

Strongly recommended.


Scott Morrison
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Final Disc 5 April 2005
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the final disc in Naxos' series of the orchestral music of Samuel Barber, and it ends with more great performances. The Capricorn Concerto (named for the home in Mount Kisco that Barber shared with Gian Carlo Menotti) is not often recorded but deserves much more attention. The concerto is greatly influenced by Igor Stravinsky and is a triple concerto for oboe, flute and trumpet - a neo-classical re-working of Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto. The concerto is an engaging work in three movements that explores the virtuosity of the three solo instruments. The surprise on this disc is the pocket-opera A Hand of Bridge where two couples playing cards think indulgently on their obsessions. The libretto is by Menotti and has quite a biting wit to it, however, the performance recorded here is only adequate. The earlier recording by Vladimir Golshman and the Symphony of the Air has a better balance and better singing overall. The voices on this recording are sometimes not clearly heard over the music and the soprano sometimes does not maintain control. Still, this is performance will be of interest to those interested in Barber rarities. There is no libretto, which would have been a welcomed addition.

The Mutations from Bach is a late work for brass instruments and was meant as a tribute to Barber's favorite composer. The famous Intermezzo from Vanessa, from Barber's first and very successful opera, depicts the spurned heroine, connecting two scenes and providing emotional context. The Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings was to have been a concerto but the ailing Barber was only barely able to produce this short piece, an elegiac and romantic close to a distinguished career. The depth of feeling in this recording is beautifully expressed. Fadograph from a Yestern Scene is a tribute to Barber's interest in James Joyce. This is a later work when the composer was living as a recluse and composed little. The inspiration for this short piece is Finnegan's Wake. It is a quiet, impressionistic work, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony, and was the last orchestra piece that Barber completed.

This is a remarkable disc that anyone interested in the music of Samuel Barber will want to have. Marin Alsop has proven to be a remarkable interpreter of Berber's music and her series of recordings with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will be the ones that all newcomers are compared against.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the series 26 Mar 2006
By Redgecko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This last installment in Naxos's Barber series collects together some of Barber's lesser known and hard-to-find pieces. The Fadograph of a Yestern Scene and the Canzonetta are achingly beautiful and not often recorded. My major complaint with this release is the placement of A Hand Of Bridge. Being a somewhat erratic vocal piece, it does not belong in the middle of the CD where it breaks the meditative flow of the other five instrumental pieces. It either belongs as the last selection on the CD, or better still, paired with Knoxville, Summer of 1915, another Barber vocal composition.

That other CD, was also poorly programmed by Naxos by their inclusion of two of Barber's three orchestral Essays. These lovely pieces shouldn't have been tainted by their proximity to the vocal piece. That is, an all-vocal Barber CD would have been welcomed by all.

At 52:28, the skimpiest offering in Naxos's survey of Barber's work.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to Sweep You Away 24 May 2008
By Jeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am continually amazed at the quality of music available for such little cost. I was browsing through my local record store (yes some of us still do go to record stores & will continue to do so until such time that the downloads offered are of CD quality - but i digress) and came across this CD for only $3.99 - how could i go wrong i thought to myself for such little expense. I got home uploaded it into my itunes and began listening to it on my headphone setup and i was just swept away and taken to another world with this vast expansive "landscape" type of music. The picture on the cover is indeed very appropriate for this music. The music is big and voluminous but always in control and you never feel lost on your journey as you are carried away.

Like most people (i guess) my only association with Barber's music prior to me purchasing this album on a whim was with his "Adagio for Strings" which i have always loved. After listening to this CD i find Barber's music is so captivating & engaging. The type of music that no matter what you are doing at the time as soon as the music begins to play it makes you want to stop what you are doing and pay attention. It draws you in and takes you away.

But with this disc particularly the "Canzonetta for Oboe & Strings" was worth the price i paid alone - just an exquisite piece of music. I like my music and am not a professional critic by any measure so if there are any technical flaws in the playing then i certainly couldn't tell. I found the playing of the music to be of the highest order.

Another Strong Recommendation for this CD.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful performances; good sound 21 Oct 2011
By AF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When I was in high school I joined a local orchestra as a violinist and we played the Capricorn Concerto in one of our concerts. When we first started rehearsing, I really didn't like the piece. By the time we performed the Concerto, I loved it. So this is not easy music, but it can be very rewarding. Other pieces on this disc, such as the Canzonetta, are more accessible. All of the performances are excellent. Because this is a bit of a melange, I gave the disc four stars, but much of it is definitely worthy of five stars.
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