Samuel Barber is one of America's most popular classical composers. His widely beloved works include Adagio for Strings and Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The main source for Samuel Barber Remembered: A Centenary Tribute is a panoply of vivid and eminently readable interviews by Peter Dickinson for a BBC Radio 3 documentary in 1981. The interviewees include Barber's friends, fellow composers, and performers, notably Gian Carlo Menotti, Aaron Copland, William Schuman, Virgil Thomson, soprano Leontyne Price, and pianist John Browning. The book also includes three of the very few interviews extant with Barber himself. Dickinson contributes substantial chapters on Barber's early life and on Barber's reception in England. The book has a foreword by the distinguished composer and admirer of Barber, John Corigliano. Peter Dickinson, British composer and pianist, has written or edited numerous books about twentieth-century music, including CageTalk: Dialogues with and about John Cage (University of Rochester Press) and three books published by Boydell Press: The Music of Lennox Berkeley; Copland Connotations; and Lord Berners: Composer, Writer, Painter.
As a biographer, I find Peter Dickinson's beautifully annotated book of interviews an indispensable resource. Dickinson, a composer himself, brings a unique perspective to the interviews: his penetrating questions yield a vivid and sympathetic portrait of Samuel Barber through the eyes of those who knew him best-friends, performers, lovers, his publisher, and colleagues. A moving tribute to one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. --Barbara Heyman, author of Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music A unique and valuable addition to the existing literature on a remarkably gifted musician. British musicologist Peter Dickinson applies his considerable talents to create a scholarly and absorbing portrait of Barber, as he has done previously with Copland and Cage. Samuel Barber Remembered brings together the memoirs of many who knew and worked with Barber, among them Leontyne Price, William Schuman, and Gian Carlo Menotti. The result is an absorbing and intimate portrait of one of the finest creative musical figures of our time. --Vivian Perlis, biographer of Aaron Copland; founding director of the Oral History, American Music archive at Yale School of Music Should appeal both to academics, with its copious footnotes, and to general music lovers, with its wealth of anecdotes... Shows how crucial (Barber and Menotti's) relationship was to both composers' artistic development.- Wall Street Journal Europe Deftly assembled and adroitly annotated... A valuable resource for Barber devotees and an excellent introduction to a man with the simplest of philosophies: 'There's no reason music should be difficult for an audience, is there?'-CLASSICAL MUSIC Neatly introduced and painstakingly annotated by ... the indefatigable American music expert Peter Dickinson... (Its) wealth of personal insights ... (makes _Samuel Barber Remembered_) an all-round portrait.--BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE (Anthony Burton)