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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A composer who deserves to be better known
Barber is a composer who unfortunately is seen by the majority of people to have one hit - Everybody has heard the "Adagio for strings" but little else, in my experience. Having heard a recording of one of the movements of the violin concerto - I hurried to by the CD - and this is the one I came across. Luckily for me - the CD not only contained the violin...
Published on 19 May 2002

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Condition of CD
The CD was scratched and the cello part was too damaged to finish playing. THE violin was all right.It was a big disappointment.
Published 14 months ago by Beryl Caplan


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A composer who deserves to be better known, 19 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
Barber is a composer who unfortunately is seen by the majority of people to have one hit - Everybody has heard the "Adagio for strings" but little else, in my experience. Having heard a recording of one of the movements of the violin concerto - I hurried to by the CD - and this is the one I came across. Luckily for me - the CD not only contained the violin concerto - but also the piano and cello. Barber is a composer who has mystified many people - being a man who kept to no singular style and wrote as if composing in several different periods. The violin concerto is mesmerizing for the most part - with the first two movements contrasting cleverly with the third - and if you have enjoyed the violin concerto you'll be sure to enjoy the piano and cello as well. At a bargain price from Amazon - you can't go wrong.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bounty of Barber, 26 Sep 2010
This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
There are two major label releases with the Samuel Barber concertos currently on offer: this eclectic collection and the RCA release with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony accompanying Kyoko Takezawa, Steven Isserlis and John Browning. This compact disc offers advantages in the performances of each of the concertos.

The Stern/Bernstein/New York Philharmonic collaboration is a richly realized performance, fully consonant with Barber's blend of Late Romanticism and modern music. Bernstein encountered the Violin Concerto when it was a work-in-progress at the Curtis Institute of Music, where Bernstein was a student and Barber was on the faculty. (Bernstein's mentor, Fritz Reiner, conducted the early performances of the Concerto at Curtis.) Bernstein was often at his best conducting twentieth-century music; his conducting here perfectly complements Stern's appropriately mercurial performance--now sweet, now steely. There is simply no comparison between this and the Takezawa/Slatkin version: Takezawa/Slatkin is nicely done; Stern/Bernstein is a gripping idiomatic performance.

Yo-Yo Ma and David Zinman give a smashing performance of the Cello Concerto, one of the best things Ma has recorded. Ma nimbly makes the tricky passages of the Concerto sing, while Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra expertly frame his work. As good as Stephen Isserlis is on the Slatkin version, Ma handily takes the prize here.

John Browning "owned" the Barber Piano Concerto: it was written for him, he premiered it, and he made it famous with this recording with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. This performance, recorded after a tour with the Cleveland Orchestra, is a fleeter, livelier, more focused account than Browning's remake with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony some twenty-five years later.

The brightness of the mid-1960s Columbia Records sound in the Violin Concerto and the Piano Concerto has been softened somewhat in this remastering without any loss of clarity. The late-1980s digital sound in the Cello Concerto is on the airy side. You will have to turn up the volume a bit to keep the cello fully present.

Barber was a composer who didn't have much regard for mid-twentieth century trends in music: he continued in his aesthetic path of basically harmonic, often ravishingly beautiful music-making. Because he followed this path, he was out of favor in some circles for long stretches of time. With the abating of some of the passions of certain culture wars, Barber's music has come to be appreciated and enjoyed by a large audience again. This disc is an excellent way to be acquainted with Barber's music, or to savor three of the finest recordings of Barber's music that have ever been done. A basic "can't miss," "must have" selection.

Note to Sony: Why isn't this available in the United States?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth for Stern and Lenny, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
This is one of the great recorded performances of a later romantic violin, informed as it is with jazz-like variation and 20th century idiom. The first movement has complete structural integrity and coherence. The last movement has you on the edge of your seat. As for the emotional heart of the piece, it is hard to find anything more nostalgically beautiful than the opening orchestral statement of that glorious theme, before of course Stern's wonderful entry with deep vibrato on his beloved Guaneri leading us on rhapsodic journey to the restatement of the opening theme which makes you forget even the movement's beginning. Stern comes as close as anyone to Heifetz for phrasing and beauty of tone in this performance. The other two excellent performances are a bonus really but make up must-have disc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 1 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
Apart from the infamous 'Adagio', I really didn't know much more of Barber's work. I heard a snippet of a new recording of his violin concerto on Radio 3 and thought this CD was worth a go. As other reviewers have pointed out, these are actually three famous recordings of each of these works, so the performance is excellent in each. The works themselves demonstrate tremendous variety - I suspect Barber maybe isn't better known because he didn't fall into an obvious category. His contemporaries were becoming interested in minimalism, and these concertos are unashamedly romantic in spirit. However, they are far from conventional or predictable. The first two movements of the violin concerto are flowing and lyrical - the final movement is spikey and restless. The piano concerto has a gorgeous and delicate second movement, the first and last movements are frenetic. Only the cello concerto feels more settled, though it's not without its surprises.

The soloists are all first class, Bernstein extracts every ounce of brilliance from Stern; Browning and Yo-Yo Ma are also as consistent and measured as you would expect. The recording quality is very good considering the age of some of these performances, though to my ears, Stern's violin is just a little to high in the mix and has an over-sweetness to it - though this does not detract from the enjoyment.

Overall, definitely worth a try. Barber has a similar quality to Britten - every listening brings out something new.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars musiclistener, 2 July 2013
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Janet Edwards (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
This piece of music is new to me and it sounds good, but until I listen to it more, and I shall, I cannot comment on the production against any others.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Condition of CD, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Cello Concerto, Op. 22; Piano Concerto, Op. 38 (Audio CD)
The CD was scratched and the cello part was too damaged to finish playing. THE violin was all right.It was a big disappointment.
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