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Unfamiliar Works by Familiar Composers

Barber, Samuel (1910-1981), America

Overture "The School for Scandal"
Violin Concerto
Music for a Scene from Shelley
Samuel Barber is popularly known these days for his "Adagio for Strings" which has been butchered in several movie scores. These are a sample of Barber's other works.

Brahms, Johaness (1833-1897), Germany

Song of Fate
These are two of Brahms works for chorus and orchestra (no soloist).

Borodin, Alexander (1833-1887), Russia

Symphony #2
The chemist Borodin is now known primarily for excerpts from his opera "Prince Igor" (e.g. Overture, "Polovetsian Dances"). The 2nd Symphony is one of the masterpieces of the literature. I would go so far as to call it the greatest short symphony of the Romantic era.

Dvorak, Antonin (1840-1904), Czech

Symphony #6
Of Dvorak's last four great symphonies, this one gets left out in the cold. I suspect that part of the reason is the overwhelming popularity of the 9th ("From the New World") force is to be included in nearly any packing of Dvorak symphony. We see 8 and 9 together and sometimes 7, 8 and 9, but never 6, 7, 8 and 9. Fortunately in the CD era, unlike in the days of LPs, there are numerous recordings of the 6th symphony available.

Gershwin, George (1898-1937), America

Second Rhapsody

Rachmaninoff, Sergei (1873-1943), Russia

Piano Concerto #4
I know why the Rachmaninoff 1st Symphony is rarely played. It's dreadful. However, why this concerto is an orphan completely escapes me. In 2000, the New Jersey Symphony had "Rachmaninoff Festival" and this was the only one of his four concertos left out.

Saint-Saens, Camille (1835-1921), France

Piano Concerto #5
Symphony #2
Except for the Symphony #3 ("Organ"), "Danse Macabre", and the opera "Samson and Delila" very little of Saint-Saens's music gets played these days.

Tchaikovsky, Peter (1840-1893), Russia

Concert Fantasia
The Concert Fantasia is a 2-movement work for piano and orchestra that is rarely played, probably because any time someone plays something for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky it ends up being the 1st piano concerto.