The Deaf Woman’s Courtship

Samuel Barber singing at the piano, from a radio broadcast at the Curtis Institute of Music on December 26, 1938

Despite the ubiquity of singer/songwriters in all sorts of musical genres, much rarer is a singer among composers who principally create music in longer forms, especially prior to our own time. Which is what makes this CD featuring historic recordings of Samuel Barber singing and playing the piano—featured on a new Bridge CD along with a recital of art songs sung by the great American soprano Leontyne Price accompanied by Barber at the piano—all the more fascinating. While Barber’s rendering of the Kentucky folksong “The Deaf Woman’s Courtship” is a far cry from the Adagio for Strings, it is a rare opportunity to find the possible cipher for his unique melodic gifts. More composers should sing!


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