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“This is a most welcome documentary…that should consolidate a broader awareness of Barber’s contributions. I hope that it attracts considerable attention. H. Paul Moon is to be commended for pulling together so many gifted performers and such revealing historical footage in compiling this multifaceted presentation. The viewer will come away with quite a rich understanding of the scope of Barber’s music, along with the essential elements of his biography, his temperament, and his personality.”

Walter Simmons, Fanfare Magazine

“A comprehensive portrait of a man who wrote some of the most beautiful music of the 20th century. I found Moon’s assemblage of Barber scholars, musicians, personal reminiscences, film footage and photographs moving. Barber left us with a legacy of blissful melancholy as the film’s moving soundtrack depicts.”

Paul Ennis, The Whole Note

“A remarkable success that rewrites the rules of documentary filmmaking, the kind of project that used only to be made by documentary departments of major television studios. If you are at all unfamiliar with this essential twentieth century composer, this marvelous documentary is the ideal place to begin.”

Christian Morris, Composition:Today

“This lavishly illustrated documentary…proclaims the meticulous labour, inspiration and persuasive powers of H. Paul Moon and his subject: the life and music of Samuel Barber. Punches are not pulled whether in relation to personal behaviour or musical assessment. This a bejewelled production…that steers a rewarding course between moving things along yet staying still long enough to inform, surprise and please.”

Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

“A great achievement by a filmmaker who possesses a deep knowledge of music, and is able to share it beautifully.  I sincerely hope that this work leads to more occasions to create music documentaries of this rare quality.”

Anders Hillborg, composer

“In person Samuel Barber was urbane, witty, articulate, and loved humor. Paul Moon reveals these qualities in his wonderful film about my uncle. He shows musicians who knew him offering insights about who he was, and others who love his music rehearsing and performing it. We in turn gain a deep understanding of the man and the composer I knew.”

David Beatty, nephew of Samuel Barber

“In the new documentary film Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, one realizes how and why Barber’s music has gradually insinuated itself into the very core of the classical music world with a durability that now seems unmatched by any of his contemporaries. With great visual polish, documentarian H. Paul Moon brings together an extremely impressive array of documents, archival footage, interviews with Barber experts, and taped oral histories. And with particular sensitivity and intelligence, Moon explores the nature of the Barber-Menotti relationship. His ability to present so much visual evidence is astounding.”

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

“A remarkable and compelling documentary that paints a revealing portrait of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers. Insightful and absorbing at every stage, H. Paul Moon leaves no stone unturned in his quest to bring to us, a greater understanding of this man of genius: one whose life began so charmed, but ended as sad and mournful as the Adagio that brought him such enviable success. Interspersed with a wealth of biographical material, contemporary and archival interviews and footage of Samuel Barber himself, this landmark film is the first to explore not only Barber the composer but also, and perhaps more importantly, Barber the man.”

Ian Venables, composer

“A stylish documentary about composer Samuel Barber, an obvious labor of love. The filmmaker avoids staid conventions of many arts docs, and he essays a stirring portrait of Barber’s life and insightful analysis of his music. Moon revisits the creative circumstances of Barber’s most celebrated works, and the film bursts with large swaths of his music, most of which are performed live in well-curated rehearsal settings and concert performances.”

Lewis J. Whittington, ConcertoNet

“I was moved by this, mostly by the man himself…among the best this country could produce. You will get to know him in a new way from this film — which by the way has superb sound.”

Donald Vroon, American Record Guide

“An impressive array of talking heads, performers and Barber memorabilia, tracing the composer’s life and work through discussion, demonstration and evocative visuals. By the end of the film, one is deeply moved by the journey of this artist, who knew what he wanted from an early age, seemed on a path of promise and productivity but then ended his life overcome with sadness and disappointment. The irony is amplified by the musical excerpts, demonstrating astounding versatility and passion. Marin Alsop says that Barber is all about pacing and architecture while at the same time being Romantic. One senses his great skill in the former—and his tremendous longing in the latter.”

Ira Siff, Opera News: Critic’s Choice

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