26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2002
Like most casual listeners to classical music, I had heard very little Barber apart from that ubiquitous Adagio, and I wasn't sure what I was going to get.
Well, it's light-hearted and dainty, and perhaps not what you'd expect. It has to be pointed out that the four pieces on this CD are actually all very different. The Violin Concerto comes across as a "serious" piece, while the "Souvenirs" is almost like a set of pastiches. The "Serenade for Strings" sounds almost Prokofiev-like in places. However, the "Music from a scene by Shelley" is perhaps the most interestingly spooky piece, evoking images (to me anyway) of boggy, moonlit woods.
Barber is certainly an accessible composer and at the same time interesting and unusual in some of his turns of phrase, so to speak. He always seems to make me think "That sounds a bit like ..." before being jolted out of this train of thought by something completely unexpected in the next bar.
Yes, it's worth exploring Barber, and there are worse places to do so than from here. Naxos once again have presented an unusual set of works at an irresistible price.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The violin concerto is the headline work here and is well performed though I wonder whether it is the violin or the recording that makes the violin tone sound a bit thin. This is not a fault wit the intrument or the playing. All the works demonstrate the same air of nostalgic romanticism mixed with a classical poise and restraint.
So despite the tone of the violin in the concerto this is a very enjoyable disc at a bargain price.