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First Essay For Orchestra Op 120


(1910 - 1981)

Samuel Barber is widely known for his famous Adagio for Strings, the slow movement of a string quartet he wrote in 1936. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1910, he was one of the first students at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studied piano, conducting, singing and composition. Awards allowed subsequent study in Rome. He taught briefly at the Curtis Institute but soon withdrew, sharing a house with his former fellow student Menotti. His music remained neo-romantic in idiom, although not without contemporary influences.

Orchestral Music

The Adagio for Strings was arranged for string orchestra from the slow movement of Barber’s string quartet of 1936 and played in this form by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Toscanini in New York two years later, in a programme that included his first Essay. Other orchestral compositions include an overture, The School for Scandal, which had won him an award in 1933; concertos for violin, for cello and for piano; a Capricorn Concerto for solo wind instruments; and two symphonies.

Stage Works

Barber wrote three operas, Vanessa, with a libretto by Menotti; A Hand of Bridge, for four singers and chamber orchestra; and Antony and Cleopatra, with a libretto by Zeffirelli. His two ballet scores are Medea and Souvenirs.

Vocal and Choral Music

Barber’s songs include a setting of Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Hermit Songs, settings of Irish texts from the 13th to 18th centuries. Choral works include an arrangement of the Adagio as an Agnus Dei, Prayers of Kierkegaard and the 1971 Neruda setting The Lovers, for baritone, chorus and orchestra.

Chamber Music

In addition to the string quartet, Barber wrote sonatas for violin and for cello.

Piano Music

Barber’s Piano Sonata touches in passing on twelve-note technique, although generally tonal in conception. Other compositions for piano are Excursions and Nocturne, an homage to the originator of the form, John Field.

Box Set ReleaseCatalogue Number
BARBER Complete Orchestral WorksNaxos 8.506021
Cinema Classics Box I (Vols 1-5) Naxos 8.505019
Classical Moments 1-3Naxos 8.506004
Naxos Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Box SetNaxos 8.506013


Celebration Overture
Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra
Concerto for Two Timpanists and Orchestra
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Dance Rhapsody
Divertimento for Small Orchestra
Prelude to a Tragedy
Redwood Fanfare
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Variations and Fugue for Orchestra


The Chairman Dances


Western Suite


Clarinet Candy


Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a


Brandenberg Concerto No. 2 in F major
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major
Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 (1st mvmt.)
Cantata No. 51
Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins
Gavotte in E
Overture from Suite No. 3 in D major for Orchestra
Suite No. 3 in D major for Orchestra


Adagio from Toccata and Fugue in C


Adagio for Strings, Op. 11
First Essay for Orchestra, Op. 12
Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Overture to The School for Scandal, Op. 5


Concerto for Viola
Concerto No. 3 for Piano
Hungarian Pictures
Hungarian Sketches
Roumanian Folk Dances


Concerto in C major for Violin, Cello, Piano, Op. 56
Concerto in D major for Violin, Op. 61
Concerto No. 2 in Bb major for Piano, Op. 19
Concerto No. 3 in C minor for Piano, Op. 37
Concerto No. 4 in G major for Piano, Op. 58
Concerto No. 5 in Eb major for Piano, Op. 73, "Emperor"
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Egmont Overture, Op. 84
Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b
Overture to Fidelio, Op. 72c
Overture to King Stephen, Op. 117
Romance No. 2 in F major for Violin, Op. 50
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Symphony No. 3 in Eb major, Op. 55
Symphony No. 4 in Bb major, Op. 60
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, "Pastoral"
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
Wellington's Victory, Op. 91


Harold in Italy
    Introduction and Love Scene from "Romeo et Juliette", Op. 17
Love Scene from Romeo and Juliet
Overture to Beatrice and Benedict
Overture to King Lear
Rakoczi March from Damnation of Faust
Roman Carnival Overture
Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14


On The Town: Three Dance Episodes
Overture to Candide
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
West Side Story (excerpts, arr. Mason)


Passacaglia for Orchestra


"La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" from Carmen
Carmen Suite No. 1
Danse Boheme from Carmen
L'Arlesienne Suite (excerpts)
L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1
L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2


Concerto Grosso No. 1 for Strings and Piano Obbligato


Fantaisie Brillante sur Carmen


Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor


Concerto for Double Bass in B minor


Academic Festival Overture, Op.80
Concerto in D major for Violin, Op. 77
Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano, Op. 15
Concerto No. 2 in Bb major for Piano, Op. 83
Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102
Hungarian Dance No. 1
Hungarian Dance No. 5
Hungarian Dances
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Tragic Overture, Op. 81
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a


Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin, Op. 26
Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra


Songs of the Auvergne, Book 1


Aria from La Wally


Violin Concerto


España Rhapsody
Joyeuse Marche


Concertino for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 107


2 Mvmts. from Concerto No. 1 in E minor for Piano, Op. 11
    Concerto No. 1 in E minor for Piano, Op. 11
    Concerto No. 2 in F minor for Piano, Op. 21


Concerto for Oboe and Strings
Concerto in G major for 2 Flutes


An Outdoor Overture
Appalachian Spring Suite
Ceremonial Fanfare
El Salón México
Fanfare for the Common Man
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes


Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8, "Christmas"
Suite for String Orchestra
Suite: Sarabande, Giga, and Badinerie




Children's Corner Suite (arr. Caplet)
Petite Suite (arr. Busser)
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Premiere Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra


Bell Song from Lakme
Coppelia: Suite No. 2


A Field in Pennsylvania
Concerto for Clarinet and Small Orchestra


Konzertstück for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 12
Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 10


"Quel Guardo Il Cavaliere" from Don Pasquale


Fantasie Pastorale Hongroise


Fanfare from "La Peri"
The Sorceror's Apprentice


Carnival Overture, Op. 92
Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104
Czech Suite, Op. 39
Romance in F minor for Violin, Op. 11
Symphonic Variations, Op. 78
Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op.60
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op.88
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95


Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 85
Enigma Variations, Op. 36
Serenade for Strings, Op. 20




El Amor Brujo Suite


Elegie for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 24
Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 80


Allegro (arr. Grau)


Tzohar for Piano and String Orchestra


Symphony in D minor




2 Canzones


Notes from Childhood


An American in Paris
Concerto in F for Piano
Porgy and Bess (selections)
Rhapsody in Blue


Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings, Op. 109


Concerto for Harp in Eb major


Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla


Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis


 "Ah! Je veux vivre" from Romeo et Juliette


Concerto in A minor for Piano, Op. 16
Peer Gynt Suite (excerpts)
Two Elegiac Melodies


Aria from Alcina
Entrance of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon
Entrance of the Queen of Sheba, from Solomon


Symphony No. 2, Op. 30


Symphony No. 3


Concerto in C major for Violin (1st mvmt)
Concerto No. 2 in D major for Cello
Symphony No. 100 in G major, "Military" (2nd mvmt.)
Symphony No. 101 in D major, "Clock"
Symphony No. 104 in D major, "London"
Symphony No. 85 in Bb major, "La Reine"


Concerto No. 2 in E minor for Cello, Op. 30 (1st mvmt.)

Herrmann, B.

Psycho - Murder Cue
Vertigo Suite


Concerto in Eb major for Trumpet, Oboe, and Strings


blue cathedral


Five Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 44, No. 4
Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber


"Mars", from The Planets, Op. 32
Noel! (arranged for Handbells)
St. Paul's Suite for Strings


Symphony No. 2, Op. 132 (Mysterious Mountain)


Prelude to Hansel and Gretel


Concertino da Camera


Decoration Day
The Unanswered Question


Concerto No. 2 for Violoncello, Op. 77 (2nd mvmt.)


Masquerade Suite
Sabre Dance from Gayane Ballet


Dances of Galanta
Háry János Suite
Minuetto Serio


Prelude and Allegro


2 Mvmts. from Symphonie Espagnole for Violin
Concerto in D minor for Cello
Symphonie Espagnole for Violin, Op. 21


Gold and Silver Waltz


 "Silvio, a questora", from I Pagliacci
"Vesti la giubba", from I Pagliacci


Three Popular Russian Songs for Orchestra, Op. 58


Concerto No. 1 in Eb major for Piano
Concerto No. 2 in A major for Piano
Hungarian Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (arr. Doppler)
Les Preludes

Liu Wenjin

Great Wall Concerto


Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan"
Symphony No. 10 (1st mvmt.)
Symphony No. 4 in G major


Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana


Recitative and Gavotte from Manon


Concerto in E minor for Violin, Op. 64
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Piano, Op. 25 (1st mvmt.)
Concerto No. 2 in D minor for Piano
Fair Melusine Overture
Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
Midsummer Night's Dream (selections)
Ruy Blas Overture, Op. 95
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, "Scottish"
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 107, "Reformation"


Le boeuf sur la toit
Scaramouche: Suite for Saxophone and Orchestra


Overture to Orfeo


"Ach Ich Fühl's", from The Magic Flute
"Batti, batti, O bel Masetto", from Don Giovanni
"Deh vieni non tardar", from Marriage of Figaro
"Non piu di fiori", from La Clemenza di Tito
"Soave sia il vento", from Cosi Fan Tutte
Alleluia from Exultate, Jubilate
Aria from Don Giovanni
Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299
Concerto in A major for Clarinet, K. 622
Concerto in C major for Oboe
Concerto No. 1 in G major for Flute, K. 313
Overture to Cosi Fan Tutte
Overture to Don Giovanni
Overture to Impressario
Overture to La Finta Giardiniera
Overture to Magic Flute
Serenata Notturna, K. 239
Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504
Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550


3 Arias from Boris Godunov
Introduction to Khovantschina
Night on Bald Mountain
Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)


Helios Overture


The Doll Song from Tales of Hoffmann


Sonata for Grand Viola
Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6


Age of American Passions


Dance of the Hours, from La Gioconda


Organ Concerto in G minor


Concerto No. 1 in Db major for Piano, Op. 10
Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Piano, Op. 16 (1st mvmt.)
Concerto No. 3 in C major for Piano, Op. 26
Gavotte from Classical Symphony
Lieutenant Kije Suite, Op. 60
Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis
Peter and the Wolf
Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 2
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125 (2nd mvmt)
Symphony No. 5 in Bb, Op. 100


"O mio babbino caro", from Gianni Schicchi
"O soave fanciulla", from La Boheme
"Quando men vo", from La Boheme
“E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca
“Recondita Armonia” from Tosca
Musetta's Waltz, from La Boheme


Concerto No. 1 in F# minor for Piano, Op. 1
Concerto No. 2 in C minor for Piano, Op. 18
Concerto No. 3 in D minor for Piano, Op. 30
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45


Concerto in G for Piano
Pavane pour une infante défunte


Ballade for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 288


Fountains of Rome
Pines of Rome


Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34
Concerto in C# minor for Piano, Op. 30
Fandango asturiano from Capriccio Espagnol
Russian Easter Overture, Op. 36
Scheherazade, Op. 35
The Viking Guest, from Sadko


Carousel (selections)
Oklahoma (selections)
South Pacific (selections)
State Fair (selections)


Largo al factotum, from Barber of Seville
Overture to "L'Italiana in Algeri"
Overture to Italian in Algiers
Overture to La Gazza Ladra
Overture to La Scala di Seta
Overture to William Tell


Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Cello, Op. 33
Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Piano, Op. 22
Concerto No. 3 for Violin in B minor, Op.61
Danse Macabre
Havanaise, Op. 83
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28
Symphony No. 3, Op. 78 (Organ Symphony)


Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20


(K)ein Sommernachtstraum


Overture in the Italian Style, Op. 170
Symphony No. 6 in C, D. 650
Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759, "Unfinished"
Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, "The Great"


Concerto in A Minor for Cello, Op. 129
Concerto in A minor for Piano, Op. 54 (1st mvmt.)
Manfred Overture, Op. 115
Symphony No. 3 in Eb major, Op. 97, "Rhenish"
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

Shore, H.

Symphonic Suite from Lord of the Rings (arr. Whitney)


Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Trumpet, Op. 35
Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Violin, Op. 99
Concerto No. 2 for Piano in F, Op. 102
Suite No. 1 for Variety Orchestra
Symphony No. 1 in F major, Op. 10
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47


Concerto in D minor for Violin, Op. 47 (1st mvmt.)
Finlandia, Op. 26
Swan of Tuonela, Op. 22 No. 2
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52
Symphony No. 5 in Eb major, Op. 82
Symphony No. 7, Op. 105


Beyond the Silence of Sorrow


The Rustle of Spring


Double Concerto for Solo Violin and Erhu
Melodies of the Tartar's Flute


Dance of the Comedians from Bartered Bride
The Moldau (from Ma Vlast)


Stars and Stripes Forever

Strauss, J.

Laughing Song, "Mein Herr Marquis", from Die Fledermaus
On the Beautiful Blue Danube
Voices of the Spring

Strauss, R.

Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (opening)
Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra
Concerto No. 1 for Horn, Op. 11
Concerto No. 1 in Eb major for Horn, Op. 11
Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 (excerpt)
Four Last Songs


Firebird Suite
Fireworks, Op. 4
Infernal Dance from Firebird
Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra


Overture to Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna
Poet and Peasant Overture


Two Swedish Folk Songs


Myetyel (Snowstorm)


1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49
Andante Cantabile
Capriccio Italien, Op. 45
Concerto in D major for Violin, Op. 35
Concerto No. 1 in Bb minor for Piano, Op.23
Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32
Letter Scene from Eugen Onegin
Marche Slav, Op. 31
Nutcracker Suite (selections), Op. 71a
Overture to Hamlet, Op. 67a
Pezzo Capriccioso for Cello and Orchestra
Romeo and Juliet
Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a
Suite No. 4, Op. 61, "Mozartiana"
Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17, "Little Russian"
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36
Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathetique"
Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello, Op. 33
Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker


Rainbow Body

Vaughan Williams

Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis


 "Bella filia dell'amore", from Rigoletto
"Brindisi: Libiamo, ne'lieti" from La Traviata
"Caro nome", from Rigoletto
"Libiamo ne'lieti calici", from La Traviata
"O don fatale" from Don Carlo
"Sempre libera" from La Traviata
“La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto
Aria from La Traviata
Aria from Un Ballo in mashera
Letter Quartet from Falstaff
Overture to I Vespri Siciliani
Overture to La Forza del Destino
Overture to Luisa Miller
Prelude to Act I, La Traviata
Prelude to Act III, La Traviata
Quartet from Rigoletto ("Bella figlia dell'amore")


Concerto No. 5 in A minor for Violin, Op. 37


Chaconne for Violin


Concerto in C for Two Trumpets and Orchestra


"Dich teure Halle", from Tannhauser
"Geliebter, sag!" from Tannhäuser
"Nur eine Waffe taugt" from Parisfal
“Winterstürme” from Die Walküre
Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
Lohengrin, Introduction to Act III
Meistersinger, excerpts from Act III
Overture to Rienzi
Overture to Tannhauser
Overture to The Flying Dutchman
Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Prelude to Die Meistersinger
Siegfried Idyll
Siegfried's Rhine Journey


Five Movements in Color


Andante e Rondo Ungherese for Bassoon
Concerto No. 2 in Eb major for Clarinet, Op. 74
Overture to Der Freischütz
Overture to Euryanthe

Williams, J.

Escapades (1st mvmt)
Harry Potter Symphonic Suite (arr. Brubaker)
Star Wars: Suite for Orchestra