Barber – Violin Concerto Op. 14 (Violin Part sheet music)

Barber – Violin Concerto Op. 14 (Violin Part sheet music, Noten, partition, spartiti, partitura)

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Barber – Violin Concerto Op. 14 (Violin Part sheet music, Noten, partition, spartiti, partitura)

Samuel Barber completed the composition of his violin Concerto , op. 14, in 1939. It is a work in three movements, with a duration of approximately 22 minutes.

History of the concert

In 1939, the industrial Philadelphia Samuel Simeon Fels commissioned Barber to write a violin concerto for his ward, Iso Briselli , a graduate of the famous Curtis Institute of Music the same year as Barber, 1934.

The biographies of Barber written by Nathan Broder (1954) and Barbara B. Heyman (1992) discuss the genesis of the concerto during the period of the engagement and the year prior to the first interpretation. Heyman interviewed Briselli and others familiar with the history in her publication.

At the end of 2010, were made available to the public letters, previously unpublished written by Fels, Barber, and Albert Meiff (master of violin Briselli in that period) from the Papers of Samuel Simeon Fels archived at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Barber accepted the advance of Fels and went to Switzerland to work on the concerto. Barber started working on the first two movements in Switzerland during the summer of 1939. He hoped to complete the concerto in the early fall to meet the deadline of October 1st, but their plans were interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War .

At the end of August, he traveled to Paris and then took a boat to the USA, arriving in early September. After spending a short time with his family in West Chester, Pennsylvania, he continued his work in the concert in the Pocono Mountains.

In Barber’s account, he continues that he gave Briselli “the completed first two movements (about 15 minutes of music)” in “the middle of October” and “he seemed disappointed that they were not of virtuoso character–a bit too easy.”

Barber says that he asked Briselli “what kind of technique, bright, is best suited to it; but I said he had no preference”. Barber continues: “At that moment, apparently did not put off by the idea of a ‘perpetual motion’ for the last movement”. However, the version of Briselli was that she liked the first two movements, but suggested a third movement more virtuous.

In mid-November, Briselli showed the first two movements complete your aforementioned master of violin in New York, and Albert Meiff, who immediately criticized the work from a violinist point of view.

Meiff wrote a letter to Fels (November 13) in which he claimed that the violin part had to undergo a “surgical operation”, giving the reason that “the ornaments technicians are very far from the requirements of a violinist modern” and that the piece was not appropriate in your current state to be interpreted by Briselli. Meiff said that he would rewrite the part of the violin in the two complete movements, and suggested that the third movement was written “with knowledge of the instrument.”

Before sending the third movement to Briselli, Barber (who now taught already at the Curtis Institute) wanted to check your ability of execution by asking a student of Curtis, Herbert Baumel, to study the movement to end for a couple of hours and then join Barber in the study of the pianist Josef Hofmann to perform the movement with him. In a letter to Fels December 14, Barber stated that he felt that this test served as a guarantee that the movement was “handy and readable”.

Barber stated that “worked very hard” in the last movement, ending it “in circumstances that are far from being the ideal”, and sent the part of the violin to Briselli about two months before the release date.

However, Briselli was disappointed when he received the third movement, and according to Barber, his reasons were the following: “at first I could not learn it security for January; second, for he was not very violinist; third, it does not fit musically with the other two movements, and it seemed pretty inconsequential”. Asked Barber if would rewrite the final to premiere at a later date if necessary, suggesting ways to improve the movement, such as expand it to a sonata-rondo. Barber dismissed these suggestions, and chose to keep their original ending, since he felt that he “couldn’t destroy a movement in which I have total confidence, sincerity artistic with myself”, which led to Briselli to renounce his claim about the concert. In the interpretation intended for the premiere, Briselli replaced by the consecrated Violin concerto Dvořák .

Meiff replied on the 26th of December to a handwritten note of Fels with a long letter of two pages 6 in which I explained Fels, “point by point”, the problems found in the piece, including that it “does not have enough structure.” —neither strong, nor majestic— does not contain sufficient dramatic moments, all of which contribute to an interpretation of success.”

He criticized the ending in particular, stating that “it was a dangerous belief from the beginning, to make a perpetual motion… without a break, rest, and without the melodic parts… a final risky and boring… .it was a wrong idea, and Mr. Barber should admit it”.

The play was performed in private in the early 1940s by the Herbert Baumel with the Orchestra of the Institute Curtis under the direction of Fritz Reiner . After this performance, Eugene Ormandy scheduled its official premiere in a pair of performances by the violinist Albert Spalding with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music in February 1941.

Those performances were followed on 11 February 1941, by a repetition in the Carnegie Hall , and from that moment, the piece quickly entered into the standard repertoire for violin and orchestra, and has become one of the concerts at most famous and interpreted in the 20th century.

It had its premiere in the United Kingdom, played by Eda Kersey in a concert of the Proms in 1943. 7

Not completely satisfied with the piece, Barber reworked in 1948-1949. The final version was released in January 1949 by Ruth Posselt, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Serge Koussevitsky and published the same year by the publisher Schirmer.

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Presto in moto perpetual 

The tone is intimate, almost out of camera, this concert is reflected in the instrumentation. The concerto is written for two flutes , oboes , clarinets , bassoons , horns and trumpets ; timpani , box , piano , and strings.

Barber provided these program notes for the premiere performance:

The first movement, Allegro molto moderato, begins with a first lyrical theme announced immediately by the solo violin, without any orchestral introduction. This movement as a whole probably has more the character of a sonata that the form of a concert. The second movement, Andante sostenuto, is introduced by a solo oboe extensive. The violin enters with a theme of contrast and rapsódico, after which it repeats the melody of the oboe from the start. The last movement, a Perpetuum mobile, exploits the character most brilliant and virtuoso of the violin. 

The first two movements of the concerto are a contrast in its lyricism quiet with the highest level of dissonance and the tempo is furious of the finale.

The first movement opens immediately with the soloist entering the first topic. It displays a nuanced vein of the melody of sadness: this melancholy latent is particularly noticeable when the clarinet unrolled the long and expressive phrase in my younger serves as the second theme. Later, a design of faster tempo vivo leads to a short burst of dissonant based on the first theme, unexpected in the climate of quiet that prevails throughout the piece. The development gives a large place to the lyrical flight of the soloist. A rate cut leads to a coda quiet, where the memory of the first theme is dissipated in a chord of sun long.

The Andante begins in c-sharp minor and ends in e major, and adopts a form ABA: the theme of what defines the oboe while the statement of the element B becomes the soloist. The atmosphere here is darkened with undertones of introspective that suggest the memories and the struggles of a distant past buried in the memory.

The Presto finale is raised on an irregular rhythm and texture to a relatively dissonant that testify to the will of Barber to explore new territories, and the character of perpetuum mobile imposes to the solo part demands undeniable in terms of virtuosity.

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