Hermit Songs, Op. 29


Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs, "based on comments written on the margins of medieval manuscripts by Irish monks, are infused with a modal harmonic language of great stylistic integrity; they led [William] Schuman to hail Barber as an unmatched art-song composer."

--Barbara B. Heyman's article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

The song cycle was composered in 1953 and published in 1954. The work was commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Library of Congress, and the premiere was sung by soprano Leontyne Price.


1. At Saint Patrick's Purgatory (translated by Seán Proinsias Ó Faolá)
2. Church Bell at Night (translated by Howard Mumford Jones)
3. St. Ita's Vision (translated by Chester Kallman)
4. The Heavenly Banquet (translated by Seán Proinsias Ó Faolá)
5. The Crucifixion (translated by Howard Mumford Jones)
6. Sea-Snatch (translated by Kenneth Jackson)
7. Promiscuity (translated by Kenneth Jackson)
8. The Monk and His Cat (translated by W. H. Auden)
9. The Praises of God (translated by W. H. Auden)
10. The Desire for Hermitage (translated by Seán Proinsias Ó Faolá)

Audio PLaylist