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Eleven years after his death, the American composer Barber is the subject of a large-scale biography, the first since 1955 (Nathan Broder, Samuel Barber , LJ 12/15/54). Based on the author's Ph.D. dissertation, this exhaustively documented study makes extensive use of original sources, including correspondence, manuscripts, and interviews. Unfortunately, the material is quite poorly organized. The biographical narrative is constantly disrupted by lengthy, discursive discussions of Barber's compositions. Treating the "life" and "works" separately (cf. Eric W. White's Stravinsky: A Critical Survey , Greenwood, 1979, or Maynard Solomon's Beethoven , LJ 11/15/77) would have been much clearer and more user-friendly. Despite these major problems, this book is recommended for large music collections because it represents such thorough research. For others, the article on Barber in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music will suffice.
- Eugene Gaub, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"For the reader interested in a particular repertory, Heyman's approach is perfect....Heyman's book provides choral musicians a valuable resource for the study and performance of Barber's music."--Choral Journal
"Would that every American composer might be as well served as is Samuel Barber by Barbara Heyman, whose book will, as critic Michael Steinberg observed, 'be the foundation of all Barber scholarship forever.'...A bold claim, but one borne out by a careful reading of Heyman's text."--Choice
"We can be grateful for Barbara Heyman's exhaustive assemblage of fact and opinion."--Yale Review
"So striking and sound in its discussion of his works that it gives a hefty boost to Barber scholarship and suggests a model for other such studies....A clear, rich, and accessible pool of indispensable information....The book, like the composer, emerges as a boon and a triumph."--Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter
"Barbara Heyman has worked diligently and intelligently to produce a book which will be the foundation of all Barber scholarship forever, to which all writers on American music will be turning constantly and for which we shall be immensely grateful. I was completely absorbed in the reading of it."--Michael Steinberg, San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra
"[A] comprehensive study. [Heyman] has brought to bear a formidable knowledge of Barber's music and its genesis, together with a sympathetic appreciation of his life, to produce a portrait which, in factual terms at least, may be considered definitive."--Music and Letters
"[Heyman] brings together a great amount of detail and documentation that makes this book a necessary point of reference."--The Musical Times
"Here is a cornicopia of data on the works of Samuel Barber....Through diligent investigation of and liberal quotations from letters, interviews, programs, reviews, books, articles, marginalia, and private tapes and films, Barbara Heyman gives us all manner of details about the background, performances, recordings, and reception of all Barber's compositions....The detail is virtually staggering....The abundance of interesting photographs and the presence of so many intelligently selected musical examples from manuscripts and published scores is laudable....This book will be consulted for many generations because of its marvelous, original data on Barber's works."--American Music