I love Samuel Barber. His life, his works, his partner. He was a brilliant man and I think severely under-appreciated. Though his Adagio for strings is a hallmark in classical music he has a wealth of other brilliant compositions that are both electrifying and inspirational. In my opinion, many of these compositions have superseded the power and brilliance of the Adagio and created a higher level of cognitive perception in music (eg. Capricorn Concerto and his Summer Knoxville 1919).
I just read a fantastic article in the UK’s Guardian here on Barber.
I HAVE to quote this sample from a letter Barber wrote to his mother when he was 9:
“Dear Mother: I have written this to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I shall have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing – don’t ask me to try and forget this unpleasant thing and go and play football. Please – Sometimes I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very). Love, Sam Barber II.”