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Solo Piano Music [Import]

Barber , Browning Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 22.83
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1. Son, Op.26: I. Allegro energico
2. Son, Op.26: II. Allegro vivace e leggero
3. Son, Op.26: III. Adagio mesto
4. Son, Op.26: IV. Fuga: Allegro con spirito
5. Interlude No.1 (Adagio For Jeanne)
6. Nocturne, Op.33
7. Ballade, Op.46
8. Excursions, Op.20: I. Un poco allegro
9. Excursions, Op.20: II. In slow blues tempo
10. Excursions, Op.20: III. Allegretto
11. Excursions, Op.20: IV. Allegro molto

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars INterpretation Plus Oct. 13 2003
Browning seems destined to be the world's greatest interpretor of Samuel Barber's music. The two were well-acquainted and had a long working relationship. Samuel Barber's piano music has not enjoyed a wide audience and this is tragic. For there is a deepness and modern romanticism that can be strangely beautiful. This is modern music fromn someone who blazed the trail from Romanticism to Modernism. As such, there are still touches of both to be found.
The Sonata, particularly the fourth movement (fugue) is one of the greatest works of this century. For a long time only Vladimir Horowitz performed this work. The Excursions and the Ballade are also beautiful, rendered crystal clear by Browning's
exquisite artistry. In fact, it is in the smaller works, those more initimate than the Sonata, that Barber really shines. This is an album that deserves to be in every collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INterpretation Plus Oct. 13 2003
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Browning seems destined to be the world's greatest interpretor of Samuel Barber's music. The two were well-acquainted and had a long working relationship. Samuel Barber's piano music has not enjoyed a wide audience and this is tragic. For there is a deepness and modern romanticism that can be strangely beautiful. This is modern music fromn someone who blazed the trail from Romanticism to Modernism. As such, there are still touches of both to be found.
The Sonata, particularly the fourth movement (fugue) is one of the greatest works of this century. For a long time only Vladimir Horowitz performed this work. The Excursions and the Ballade are also beautiful, rendered crystal clear by Browning's
exquisite artistry. In fact, it is in the smaller works, those more initimate than the Sonata, that Barber really shines. This is an album that deserves to be in every collection.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Browning Plays Barber to Perfection Nov. 12 2001
By Robert W. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
This particular CD is great for two reasons. First, you get all the solo works for piano composed by American composer Samuel Barber including his sonata, all four Excursions, and the Ballade and Nocturne. Second, everything recorded here is played by John Browning, acknowledged as THE top performer of Barber's music. With a combination like that, you just can't go wrong.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of solo piano pieces by Samuel Barber April 12 2008
By Jeffrey J.Park - Published on Amazon.com
This is a wonderful collection of solo piano pieces composed by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) and performed by virtuoso pianist John Browning. As my introduction to the works of Samuel Barber, my general take on the collection is that John Browning does an excellent job conveying the moods of Barber's music on this compilation, which are alternately meditative and unsettled.

I have to say that my favorite composition is the lengthy Sonata for Piano Op. 26 (1949), which is subtly atonal and nods in the direction of a 12-tone composition (as developed by Schoenberg). Composed in 1977 (after a years labor) Ballade Op. 46 was his last piece for solo piano and is quite reflective. The remaining pieces exhibit virtuosic flourishes and are in large part, tonal. As an aside, I could swear that parts of Excursion (1942-1944) (particularly Un poco allegro) turned up some 30 years later in the music of the progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer (maybe Karn Evil 9?).

Reading through the detailed liner notes, it was clear that as a neo-romanticist surrounded by pioneers in serialism and electronic music, Barber did have a rough go of it. He was creating tonal music at a time in the mid-20th century when atonality and aleatoric music were considered the new frontiers in modern classical. Although neo-romanticism did eventually catch on, Barber was deeply affected by the rejection of his music by critics/peers and especially by the poor reception of his opera entitled Antony and Cleopatra (1966). As Barber indicated, this opera contained some of his finest work.

The sound quality of this MusicMasters Classics release is OK.

All in all, I have to say that this was a fantastic listening experience and a great introduction to the solo piano music of Samuel Barber. I have noticed from reading the reviews here at AMAZON that this is not truly a complete collection in that a few solo piano pieces have been omitted. Well, I enjoyed this collection so much that I have been inspired to seek out his other compositions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Feb. 6 2007
By Finzi and Barber fan - Published on Amazon.com
This is the definitive recording of Barber's piano music. None have matched the beauty and understanding of Browning in this repertoire, and it is difficult to imagine a better interpretation of any of the piano music here. Daniel Pollack on Naxos pales in comparison (although the Naxos orchestral releases are very fine indeed). The omission of the Souvenirs Suite is no great loss: as charming as it is it fails to match the consistent inspiration of the works on this disk, and is one of only a handful of works by Barber that might be described as a weak work. The second Interlude was withdrawn by Barber.

The recording is also top notch and suits the style of music and playing beautifully. It is unbelievable that it is not currently available, but luckily Amazon has the used and new feature, so do not fret!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Solo Piano Music May 13 2006
By Saviolin - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great selection of music. However, this album cannot officially be called complete for two reasons. Only the first interlude is included, and secondly the Souvenirs, which are beautiful pieces, are absent. Besides that, great performance by Browning, and beautiful composing, of course, by Samuel Barber.
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