Supposed to go to the barber this week to kill this dead animal act on my head and I did go to a Barber but not one with scissors. This week would have been Samuel Barber’s 100th birthday so there is a mini-Barber fest. Listening to the rarely performed Vanessa on RTI Sat, which they preluded it with a choral version of his most famous work Adagio for Strings his profound orchestral elegy.
Barber was born in West Chester Pa in 1910 and fell in love with Giancarlo Menotti when they both attended the Curtis Institute of Music in the 20s. Must have been charming a gay affair in the prestigious halls of Curtis, stealing glances and intimacies as glorious music of the conservatoire collided around them.
At Curtis Monday night Barber Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra was a ring of fire essayed by cellist John-Henry Crawford and pianist Hugh Sung. The work is on wily dual tracks of dissonant matrixes and lush enclaves.
Sung’s piano serenely crystallized and Crawford’s vertical finger dance over the string and his untaut bowing, completely hypnotic. Their handling of chord clusters and reverse harmonic lines displayed their deep understanding of Barber’s architecture.