Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber

His 100th. Though he died in 1981, it’s good to see his centenary has sparked some renewed interest in his work, and perhaps a reevaluation. No longer is he seen by so many critics as behind the times. No longer is he seen as incapable of experimentation and modern innovations. Beyond the critical wars, staring down at us from within the notes of the music of the spheres, Barber can watch and listen with a wry smile, or stretch his heart to the breaking point with us while we listen to Adagio for Strings.

Which makes me think about all of the drama when it comes to discussing art. Once it’s all been categorized, compartmentalized, according to “schools”, the battle is lost and we all too easily lose the sense of the music itself. The battle becomes the battle over competing interpretations, instead of what art, music and literature are really meant to do:

Inspire us, lift us, provoke new worlds and new ways to look at old worlds and old ways forgotten that should be remembered again.

Cheryl Studer sings two songs by Samuel Barber




Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber
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