Symphony I (Barber)

From Wind Repertory Project
Samuel Barber

Samuel Barber (trans. Guy Duker)

This work is also known as Symphony No. 1, Opus 9.

General Info

Year: 1936 / 1970
Duration: c. 19:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Alto Flute
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Samuel Barber commenced his work on the symphony in August 1935 and completed the work at the Anabel Taylor Foundation in Roquebrune in the French Alps. It was dedicated to his long-time companion Gian Carlo Menotti. It received its American premiere by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Rudolf Ringwall 21 and 23 January 1937 and was performed three times on 24 March 1937 at Carnegie Hall, New York, by the New York Philharmonic–Symphony Orchestra under direction of Artur Rodziński. Rodziński was a strong promoter of Barber's work and conducted the Vienna Philharmonic's performance of the symphony at the opening concert of the 1937 Salzburg Festival. It was the first performance of a symphonic work by an American composer at the festival.

The symphony is a condensed one-movement version of a classical four-movement symphony and is modeled after Sibelius' Symphony No. 7. The work is divided into four sections: Allegro ma non troppo, Allegro molto, Andante tranquillo, and Con moto.

Symphony in One Movement (op. 9), was completed 24 February 1936. It was premiered by Rome's Philharmonic Augusteo Orchestra under the baton of Bernardino Molinari on 13 December 1936. It lasts around 21 minutes. The title given in the printed score of the work is First Symphony (in One Movement) (Barber 1943), and the uniform title is Symphonies, no. 1, op. 9.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The Symphony in One Movement was composed in 1936 and revised in 1942. ... Barber's mastery of form and balance is exemplified in this powerful early work. His ingenious synthesis of the classical four-movement symphony form combines variety with a remarkable economy of means.

The dramatic opening presents three themes upon which the entire work is based. The first is characterized by an upward octave leap; the second is a more subdued, lyrical utterance; the third is a twisting, circling impassioned melody that builds to a modest climax before trailing off into a compact development section. The Scherzo (Allegro molto) is based on a transformation of the first idea. The slow movement develops the moody second theme before giving way to a concluding passacaglia built on the first theme. The Finale serves as a recapitulation of the entire symphony. The work's directness and tremendous emotional depth demonstrate the ability of this master composer.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


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State Ratings

  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • North Carolina: Masterworks
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Southern Winds (Daytona Beach, Fla.) (Douglas L. Phillips, conductor) – 28 July 2022
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michelle Rakers, conductor) – 29 April 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Barber, S.; Duker, G. (1970). First Symphony (In One Movement): For Concert Band [score]. G. Schirmer: New York.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 35
  • Symphony in One Movement (Barber). Wikipedia. Accessed 29 July 2023