[Barber, Samuel. (1910–1981)] Auden, W.H. ( (1907–1973)
Birthday Invitation addressed to Samuel Barber, with autograph musical notations
Printed bifold 1962 invitation to the Birthday Party of British-American poet W.H. Auden, addressed in Auden's hand to "Mr. Samuel Barber" at the head in ink and annotated by Barber in pencil with musical rhythms and some calculations on the verso, the inside being blank and thus easily displayed open so both sides are visible. In fine condition, a remarkable association. From the collection of Barber's close friend Manfred Ibel.
Barber first met Auden in New York in 1940 and had discussed a possible text for an aria, which never came to fruition. He later wrote two of the translations for Barber's "Hermit Songs" (1953), the "The Monk and his Cat" being surely one of the classic American art songs of its kind.
Manfred Ibel was "a young German art student and amateur flute player to whom Barber dedicated the piano concerto. Because from the early 1950s Menotti was drawn more and more into the public arena and the demands of his and Barber’s professional lives limited their time together, Barber welcomed having an available companion with whom he could travel and talk about music and literature. What seemed to draw him to the charismatic Ibel was their 'mutual affinity for the spirit of German Romanticism and culture.' During the summer of 1959 they shared a house on Martha’s Vineyard, and it was at this time Barber wrote the song for flute and piano, Elegy, that in 1962 he orchestrated for the second movement of his piano concerto." (Barbara Heyman, notes for the "Barber & Britten, Music + Festival" October, 2013, University of Arizona)