*
" width="200" height="200" />Detail from Drifter, by Rockwell Kent, <1933>. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

You are watching: James agee sure on this shining night


from Four Songs, op. 13, 1937-40 by Samuel Barber, 1910-1981

Samuel Barber was a prolific song composer, having written over 100 works for voice and piano, the bulk of i beg your pardon still stay unpublished. The the published songs, Barber"s "Sure top top this bright Night" (from Four Songs, op. 13) is widely taken into consideration as among the composer"s most well known contributions come the genre. Quintessential Barber v its lyrical lines, "Sure on this bright Night" has end up being one of the most commonly programmed song both in the joined States and also Europe.

"Sure ~ above this glowing Night" is the 3rd song in the collection entitled Four Songs which was released by G. Schirmer in 1940. Unequal his previously collection of Three Songs, op. 10, in i m sorry all three songs are collection to city by James Joyce, Barber"s Four Songs, op. 13 functions the messages of four various poets. The text for "Sure ~ above this shining Night" was based upon an untitled lyric from James Agee"s very first published repertoire of poems, Permit Me Voyage (1934). Barber ultimately met and formed a lasting friendship through the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, yet it was not till after he collection Agee"s Knoxville: Summer that 1915 in 1948.

The brilliance that "Sure top top this glowing Night" lies in the long, seamlessly lyrical canonical lines, initiated by the voice and followed instantly by the piano. The song"s framework resembles that of songs crafted by 19th-century master such as Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann, especially in the dexterous use of canonic principals (in which Brahms excelled) and also in the use of the pulsating chordal-style accompaniment, as discovered in Schmann"s "Ich grolle nicht" (from Dichterliebe, 1840). "Sure ~ above this glowing Night" has additionally been used by voice teachers, including Marinka Gurewich, come instruct singers in the art of producing a pianissimo cantilena vocal line.

See more: Two Characteristics Of The Committees Of Correspondence Included ?

No doubt the popularity of "Sure top top the glowing Night" was enhanced by Barber"s regular retelling of one anecdote that directly affiliated the song. In 1979, Barber had just moved into a new apartment in brand-new York City and also needed to speak to home. He to be trying to reach Gian Carlo Menotti, whom he knew was visiting the apartment. However, upon trying to dial the number from the telephone booth, Barber realized that he might not recall the newly developed phone number. The composer contacted the operator for help who at first refused to administer Barber v the number, yet confessed that she own a "weakness" because that "Sure ~ above this shining Night" and also requested that Barber sing the song"s opening phrase to confirm his identity. Barber complied and was rewarded through his telephone number!

Anecdotes aside, Barber must have actually appreciated the song"s heat reception for almost thirty years later on he arranged "Sure top top this glowing Night" (along with "A Nun takes the Veil," also from Four Songs, op. 13) because that chorus. The arrangements were exceptionally popular and also sold end a hundred thousand copies. Come date, "Sure on this bright Night" stays a favorite amongst solo singers and also choral ensembles alike.