Learning Something New About New Bedford’s Most Interesting Man
Thanks to a local historian and close friend of the late Peter Barney, I found out something I never knew about New Bedford's most interesting man.
I was aware that his personality was well developed in all aspects; however, I never knew his love of music extended far down.
Researcher and chronicler Arthur P. Motta Jr., who serves as Community & Public Affairs Manager for the New Bedford Public Schools, educated me about Barney's brilliant musical mind, something I unfortunately never knew until after his passing last week at the age of 73.
"One facet of Peter's many interests was classical and orchestral music. He and I served on the Board of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra as we both shared a love of classical music," Motta said. "Peter had a deep knowledge of the orchestral repertoire and the great composers, but what most people don't know was that he was a composer himself."
Motta said that years ago, he visited Barney in his sound studio, which he set up in his study.
"It was equipped with an Alesis keyboard and Sibelius music composition software. Peter experimented constantly, composing more than 50 symphonies, tone poems and concertos," Motta said.
Barney gave Motta many of his compositions on CD, and was Motta quick to describe them as "experimental."
"His Symphony #22 is titled 'For Joan.' In his 'Andante: For Sadness,' you can hear the influence of Aaron Copeland, Samuel Barber and other great 20th century composers," Motta said.
Listen to Peter Barney's "Andante: For Sadness" below:
Remembering his good friend means everything to Motta.
"Peter was an extraordinary intellect and creative mind, who spoke with authority and positivity – a true resource," he said. "I will miss his voice and insight on all things New Bedford."