Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Happy Birthday, Mr. Barber

In 1970, at the 113th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert, Philadelphia Orchestra music director Eugene Ormandy was presented with a gift to honor his 70th - the Happy Birthday Variations.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Barber

In 1970, at the 113th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert, Philadelphia Orchestra music director Eugene Ormandy was presented with a gift to honor his 70th - the Happy Birthday Variations.

Eighteen composers each contributed a variation - Bernstein, Copland, Orff, Persichetti, Virgil Thomson, Miklós Rózsa among them.

Today, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Samuel Barber's birth in West Chester, Pa., we remember Barber, who died in 1981, with a snippet of his contribution to Ormandy's musical birthday card. It's scored for brass choir and timpani, and if you take a look at the closing bars, you'll see the composer's reference to his own Adagio for Strings.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Barber.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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