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Samuel Barber: a forgotten neo-Romantic great
13.08.2021 Leon McCawley
Samuel Barber Samuel Barber

This year has seen a glut of important musical anniversaries. We've had Chopin aplenty, plus Schumann and Mahler to boot. Samuel Barber's centenary (1910-1981) has also fallen during this eventful season, but I guess we're out of candles and there's no more cake. Why has this wonderful composer somehow missed the cut?

At the tender age of nine, Barber left this touching note for his mother:

"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."
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