Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra Op. 17

 The assignment is to write a Program Note, using your own words. Choose a piece that we have not discussed in class from the mid-20th century written by a gay American composer, and write a program note that could be used in a printed program. (So I have chosen the piece, Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra Op.17) Your job in writing your note is to explain the context for this music and tell your audience what makes it remarkable. Your notes should be factual, creative, entertaining if possible, and written succinctly and persuasively. How can you enhance your audience’s listening experience? What do you want them to have learned from your note? It should be something fun for the reader! Please proofread and research, and prepare your program note as if for publication, giving equal attention to issues of writing style, grammar, and content. Here is the list of questions you must consider as you write your program note: What do we get from listening to this piece? Why was it written? When and where? What was happening in the composer’s life at that point? What was happening in the world at that point? What’s it like to perform this piece? Is there a particular moment or overall concept that you would like the audience to focus on? What do you love about the piece? What was it like to rehearse the piece? What do you want the audience to remember?

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