The Esoterics | Barber: Samuel Barber's Collected Choral Works

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Chanticleer Dale Warland Singers The Sixteen

More Artists From
United States - United States

Other Genres You Will Love
Classical: Choral Music Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: A Cappella
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Barber: Samuel Barber's Collected Choral Works

by The Esoterics

This is the first recording by an American choral ensemble to feature all of Samuel Barber’s works for a cappella chorus and was made in conjunction with The Esoterics’ centennial concert of the same name.
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Sign up for the CD Baby Newsletter
Your email address will not be sold for any reason.
Continue Shopping
just a few left.
order now!
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
1. Motetto: I. There the wicked cease
1:22 $0.99
2. Motetto: II. Call now! (uncatalogued)
2:45 $0.99
3. Motetto: III. God's grandeur (uncatalogued)
5:42 $0.99
4. Motetto: IV. Praise him! (uncatalogued)
2:43 $0.99
5. Twelfth night Op. 42 No. 1
3:29 $0.99
6. Easter chorale (uncatalogued)
1:48 $0.99
7. Heaven-haven Op. 13 No. 1
1:53 $0.99
8. Let down the bars, O death Op. 5 No. 2
1:55 $0.99
9. The virgin martyrs Op. 8 No. 1
3:18 $0.99
10. A stopwatch and an ordnance map Op. 15
6:41 $0.99
11. To be sung on the water Op. 42 No. 2
2:16 $0.99
12. Reincarnations: I. Mary Hynes Op. 16 No. 1
1:48 $0.99
13. Reincarnations: II. Anthony O Daly Op. 16 No. 2
3:01 $0.99
14. Reincarnations: III. The coolin Op. 16 No. 3
3:06 $0.99
15. Agnus Dei Op. 11
8:35 $0.99
16. Sure on this shining night Op. 13 No. 3
2:19 $0.99
17. Happy birthday, Sam Barber (uncatalogued)
0:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Esoterics presents its newest compact disc release, BARBER. This recording was made in conjunction with The Esoterics’ centennial concert of the same name, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American composer Samuel Barber. This is the first recording by an American choral ensemble to feature all of Barber’s works for a cappella chorus. Barber is one of the most important figures in American composition, having twice won the Pulitzer Prize. Purchase your copy of this historic recording by one of the country’s premiere vocal ensembles for contemporary choral music!

This recording, made in the lush acoustics of Seattle’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church, is the first recording to bring together God’s grandeur and Motetto on words from the book of Job, which Barber had intended to be performed as a single cycle. Also included in this recording are three choral works that are normally performed with instruments (Easter chorale, A stopwatch and an ordnance map, and Sure on this shining night). For these three pieces, the ensemble sings the instrumental parts (for brass, timpani and piano) as well as the choral parts. This recording, directed by The Esoterics’ Founding Director Eric Banks, is an excellent interpretation of Barber’s neo-romantic style and was engineered using binaural recording technology.



to write a review


The Esoterics soar on this moving centennial tribute to Samuel Barber
Samuel Barber understood the voice and its capabilities and composed works unrivaled in mid-century American music. The scores are complete. They are perfect. It is easy to romanticize the choral works of Barber; it is easy to let the subject of the poetry or the lyric melodies wash over and dictate the performance. It takes restraint to perform the works as written. It takes courage to not follow the performance precedent of these well beloved choral works.

Seattle-based choral ensemble The Esoterics, under the direction of Eric Banks, provides a refreshing alternative to those norms in their new album, Barber: Samuel Barber’s Collected Choral Works, a centennial tribute to the composer. It features all the expected works (Agnus Dei, Reincarnations, Sure on this shining night) and the unexpected and unknown (Motetto, Easter chorale), giving the listener a full spectrum of Barber’s style as a choral composer.

The album opens with Motetto on Words from the Book of Job and God’s Grandeur, composed by Barber at age 20. The four-movement work has a certain neo-baroque flair, with a brisk double-chorus polyphonic texture. The Esoterics takes this work and introduce it to the world, with ethereal tone, crisp and concise cut-offs, and excitement which matches the youthful urgency of the composition. Particularly impressive is the third movement, God’s Grandeur. With text by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Barber’s early inclination towards provocative text is evident.

The greatest moments on the album are the lively rendition of Reincarnations and the vocal arrangement of Barber’s best-loved work, Adagio for Strings, his Agnus Dei (Op. 11). Each of the three movements of Reincarnations has a distinct flavor. Mary Hynes is flirty and fanciful, but Banks manages to keep the ensemble together on a piece that is notorious for falling apart. Anthony O Daly is intense and driven, almost uncomfortable, obsessively repeating “Anthony” until the final conceding moment: “After you there is nothing to do, there is nothing but grief.” And yet, it is the third in this cycle, The Coolin, which solidifies this CD as a definitive recording of Barber’s choral works. This track dances; it lilts. So often performed so slowly and oozing with over-romanticism, this movement often loses that all-too-important lilt. The Esoterics’ CD is proof that romanticism is present, even if you eschew rubato and maintain the tempo as written. It is, in fact, more present.

Finally, there is The Esoterics’ rendition of Barber’s masterpiece Agnus Dei, a work so perfect and so simple that it needs

little to make it spectacular. However, The Esoterics take it further, singing with such a precise tone. The counterpoint at the climax is so intense, that its release into consonance is a superlative musical experience. Simply put, this recoding shimmers.

Banks and The Esoterics have managed to take a composer’s entire oeuvre, and make each piece new and interesting. This ensemble has breathed life into Barber’s work in this loving tribute to this treasured American composer. Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber, indeed!