Barber at the Barbican in full bloom

Vanessa, Barber's tale frost-bitten love story is edge-of-your seat brilliant in the hands of Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Composer: Barber
Repertoire: Vanessa
Artists: Soloists; BBC SO/Slatkin
Rating:  5/5 
Genre: Vocal/Orchestral
Label: Chandos CHSA 5032(2)

Barber’s tale of love in cold northern climes could hardly be better cast: Christine Brewer has a voice of enormous power, Susan Graham matches her for subtlety and warmth, and tenor William Burden is excellent as the predatory male who seduces them both. Slatkin has never conducted better, and the acoustic of London’s Barbican Hall gives it all a very warm bloom. The result is a gripping account of an edge-of- the-seat work.