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Five Hermit Songs Op.29

Samuel Barber (b. 1910 - d. 1981)

Ailish Tynan

Ailish Tynan

Composer
Samuel Barber (b. 1910 - d. 1981)
Composition Year
1953
Work Movements
1. Church bell at night (translated Howard Mumford Jones)
2. St Ita
3. The Heavenly Banquet (translated Seán Ó Faoláin)
4. Sea snatch (translated Kenneth Jackson)
5. The desire for Hermitage. (translated Seán Ó Faoláin)
Artists
Joseph Middleton [piano], Ailish Tynan [soprano]

Programme Note Writer:
© Ian Fox

Barber was an important writer for the voice in opera and song.  He studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and then with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He composed three operas, many symphonic and chamber music works and a large number of songs. Barber visited Ireland in 1952 and toured the country, exploring its literature and folk material.  The Hermit Songs date from 1953 and employ translations of verses written by Irish monks between the 8th and 13th centuries. Leontyne Price gave the first performance in the Library of Congress in 1953 with the composer accompanying her. There are ten in all with our soloist choosing the second, third, fourth, sixth and tenth for this afternoon. Barber employs various modern techniques such as mixed rhythms, no time signatures and unusual chords in fourths and other irregular combinations, but he still retains a strong melodic line in his imaginative settings.

First is the brief The Company of the Bell, as the12th century scribe records his preference for a church bell to foolish women. In the 8th century verses of St Ita’s Vision a breathless recitative is followed by a moving lullaby for the Baby Jesus.  The Heavenly Banquet is attributed to St. Brigid in the 10th century. It is an amusing account of the Saint’s list of those she would welcome to her heavenly banquet.  Sea-Snatch dates from the 8th or 9th century and is a lament for a ship lost at sea.  The last song from the cycle The desire for Hermitage again has an early date of the 8th/9th century.  Barber himself undertook periods of retreat and contemplation, living away from cities in the Mount Kisco area of New York State.  In the poem the author praises seclusion:  Alone I came into the world and alone I shall go from it

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Five Hermit Songs Op.29

Composer: Samuel Barber (b. 1910 - d. 1981)
Performance date: Friday 4th July 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Samuel Barber (b. 1910 - d. 1981)
Work Title Five Hermit Songs Op.29
Composition Year 1953
Work Movements 1. Church bell at night (translated Howard Mumford Jones)
2. St Ita
3. The Heavenly Banquet (translated Seán Ó Faoláin)
4. Sea snatch (translated Kenneth Jackson)
5. The desire for Hermitage. (translated Seán Ó Faoláin)
Artist(s) Joseph Middleton [piano], Ailish Tynan [soprano]
Performance Date Friday 4th July 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Recital Series
Duration 00:09:44
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation S-solo, pf
Programme Note Writer © Ian Fox

Barber was an important writer for the voice in opera and song.  He studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and then with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He composed three operas, many symphonic and chamber music works and a large number of songs. Barber visited Ireland in 1952 and toured the country, exploring its literature and folk material.  The Hermit Songs date from 1953 and employ translations of verses written by Irish monks between the 8th and 13th centuries. Leontyne Price gave the first performance in the Library of Congress in 1953 with the composer accompanying her. There are ten in all with our soloist choosing the second, third, fourth, sixth and tenth for this afternoon. Barber employs various modern techniques such as mixed rhythms, no time signatures and unusual chords in fourths and other irregular combinations, but he still retains a strong melodic line in his imaginative settings.

First is the brief The Company of the Bell, as the12th century scribe records his preference for a church bell to foolish women. In the 8th century verses of St Ita’s Vision a breathless recitative is followed by a moving lullaby for the Baby Jesus.  The Heavenly Banquet is attributed to St. Brigid in the 10th century. It is an amusing account of the Saint’s list of those she would welcome to her heavenly banquet.  Sea-Snatch dates from the 8th or 9th century and is a lament for a ship lost at sea.  The last song from the cycle The desire for Hermitage again has an early date of the 8th/9th century.  Barber himself undertook periods of retreat and contemplation, living away from cities in the Mount Kisco area of New York State.  In the poem the author praises seclusion:  Alone I came into the world and alone I shall go from it