Lyric Fest and The Crossing will present an all-Barber program in Philadelphia this weekend. The program will be given twice, once in Chestnut Hill and again in Center City, and it will consist entirely of songs and choral music. I'll be going to the Chestnut Hill concert Saturday evening. This is exciting. Good choral concerts are rare, particularly when they're devoted to a single composer who I always felt has been somewhat underrated. Barber is known primarily for his Adagio for Strings, of course, and his piano and violin concertos are very fine, but his vocal music, some of his best work, seems to get overlooked. Or maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places.
See my preview article, linked over to the left.
Sounds like a good concert. I'm listening to a lot of choral music -- masses and requiems, mostly.
If I ever prayed, I would pray that Sony re-release the American choral music the Gregg Smith Singers recorded for Columbia in the 1960s and 70s. There was a wonderful LP devoted to the music of William Billings, and two disks of music by Charles Ives. I still have the vinyl, but the music deserves to be remastered for CD. It's a disgrace that Ives's Harvest Home Chorales are not available in any version. But trying to get through to Sony is like trying to get through to Kafka's Castle. It's keeping a lot of classic stuff from ever seeing the light of day again.
The Smith group also recorded an LP for Everest devoted to Copland, Barber (Reincarnations, which will be performed Sunday), and William Schuman, and happily, an Amazon search shows it has just been reissued. Get it.
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