The School for Scandal (Barber)

The School for Scandal (Barber)

Samuel Barber's overture to The School for Scandal, Op. 5, was the composer's first composition for full orchestra. It was composed in 1931 while Barber was completing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. The premiere was given on August 30, 1933 by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Alexander Smallens. It lasts around 8 min.

The title refers to the comedy The School for Scandal written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and the overture was by Barber intended to reflect the spirit of the play.

It was written for triple wood-winds, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, bass drum, cymbals, bells, celesta, harp and strings. It is characterized by orchestral brilliance and a number of shifts in tempo and dynamics.

The overture helped to establish Barber's national reputation and became in the 1950s a more regular part of the repertoire of American orchestras. It won the Joseph H. Bearns Prize of Columbia University in 1933.

An arrangement for concert band has been made by Frank M. Hudson. Additionally, the full orchestral version of the overture has been recorded by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, under Leonard Slatkin as conductor, and is available on the EMI recording label.

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