A Centennial Celebration
Curated by Marjorie
Orchestral Premieres: Samuel Barber's The Lovers
Audio excerpt of Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in the world premiere, recorded 22 September 1971 at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia
Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Samuel Barber entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 1924, at age fourteen, as a member of its first class. Following eight years of study, he traveled to Europe, returning to the Institute from 1939-42 as a member of the faculty.
With the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ormandy conducted several world premiere performances of Barber's works, among them his Violin Concerto (1941), Medea Ballet Suite (1947), and Toccata Festiva for organ and orchestra (1960). In 1971, Ormandy gave the premiere of The Lovers, with Finnish baritone Tom Krause and the Temple University Chorus under the direction of Robert Page. Based on selections from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, the work was composed with a commission from the Girard Bank of Philadelphia. Neruda's erotic poetry and the nude drawings that appeared on the concert program cover raised eyebrows, both among bank officials and a portion of the concert-going public.
Program for Samuel Barber's The Lovers
Academy of Music, Philadelphia, 22 September 1971
Last update: Thursday, 16-Jun-2011 13:59:40 EDT