Barber souvenirs ballet suite orchestra

Samuel Barber's music, masterfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex, and harmonically rich. Born 9 March 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Barber wrote his first piece at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. At the age of 14 he entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied voice, piano, and composition. Later, he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner. At Curtis, Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied libretti for Barber's operas Vanessa (for which Barber won the Pulitzer prize). Souvenirs (1952) Written as a four-hand piece for his friend Charles Turner and himself to amuse their friends, it eventually became a scintillating New York City Ballet score. Here nostalgia is wedded to gentle humor. The plush age of Edith Wharton’s old New York is epitomized. Barber revelled in the ambiance of the color and lifestyle of the disappearing luxury hotels of Europe and America — particularly the Plaza. When he was in New York he often went there for afternoon tea just to hear the continental trio perform the sugary music of the turn of the century, music that embodied the aura of an earlier America he loved. (Barber had his gather-round-the-piano side.)

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