'I was meant to be a composer, and will be I'm sure.'

Samuel Barber

'I was meant to be a composer, and will be I'm sure.'

In 1919 the composer Samuel Barber, then aged nine, wrote a letter to his mother, in which he pleaded with her not to make him play football, and to accept that he was ‘meant to be a composer’. The following is an extract from the full letter, published by Letters of Note.

I have written this to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I will have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlet [sic]. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing.—Don’t ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.

lettersofnote.com

Published on 9 October 2012

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