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Happy 100th Birthday, Samuel Barber!

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From "Nursery Songs," in "Early Compositions" by Samuel Barber.
From "Nursery Songs," in "Early Compositions, 1917-1927" by Samuel Barber.

The following post is by James Wintle, Reference Specialist.

The Music Division of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Samuel Barber estate and G. Schirmer, Inc., have created an online exhibition of original manuscripts, correspondence, and performances to commemorate the birth of one of America’s most beloved composers. The web presentation is available for viewing on the Music Division’s Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

It seems like everyone loves the music of Samuel Barber. There are web sites galore and a steady stream of new recordings and publications being released this year to celebrate the centennial of Samuel Barber’s birth. Did you know that there are currently 10 different Facebook groups that you can join to show your love for Barber? Everything from “Barber is Brilliant” with 204 members (at the time of writing) to “I Love Barber’s Adagio for Strings” which currently has 639 members. Of course, some of the groups are less popular. The group started to “Help Beth find her Samuel Barber book”, sadly, only has Beth herself as a member.  Better luck next time, Beth.

If you Samuel Barber fans can tear yourselves away from Facebook long enough, you will definitely want to check out the Music Division’s new Samuel Barber web presentation. The Music Division has most of Samuel Barber’s original manuscripts in its collection and many of them are now on the web. This includes a book of largely unknown compositions written when he was in school at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and songs like Sure on This Shining Night, which has become a rite of passage for college voice students around the world.

Did you ever wonder what kind of music Barber was writing at age 7? We’ve got that too! Keep your bookmarks on the Performing Arts Encyclopedia to find new web content related to the Samuel Barber centennial being released throughout the year.

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