Title - 'Samuel Barber Piano Concerto & Solo Piano Works'
Artist - Kevin Robert Orr
For those not in the know, much like myself, concert pianist Kevin Robert Orr pursues a dynamic agenda as performer, professor, masterclass clinician, lecturer and adjudicator that has taken him to major music institutions and festivals across North America, Europe, China, South Korea and Australia.
A strong advocate of the music of living composers, Orr has premiered and recorded solo and ensemble works by composers Jennifer Margaret Barker, Paul Basler, Houston Dunleavy, Paul Richards, Robert Rollin, and John Weinsweig.
Orr’s critically acclaimed solo recordings include the complete sonatas and ballades of Johannes Brahms, and the just-released piano concerto and sonata of Samuel Barber.
Here on Samuel Barber Piano Concerto & Solo Piano Works (Meyer Media LLC) Orr joins forces with Maestro En Shao and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra to record Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize winning Piano Concerto.
Included on this recording is Barber's Piano Sonata, as well as his Nocturne and Ballade and trust me when I say that from start to finish this album us a genuine and pure delight to behold.
As my introduction to the works of Samuel Barber, my general take on the collection is that Orr does a rather excellent job conveying the moods of Barber's music on this compilation; which are alternately meditative and unsettled.
Beautifully performed, this fresh interpretation on Barber's piano and solo works - as I've since come to learn - really inherits the works that Barber was creating.
By that I mean Barber 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 and it has to be said that this expansive new reiteration from the seasoned Orr evokes that period, that passion, that devotion almost seamlessly.