About the Works

Overture to the Midnight Spectacle was composed in 1973 for a composition class at the University of Minnesota, and re-orchestrated in 1978.

The title was inspired by various late-night mystery/horror series shows on television and radio, and the musical mood could be characterized as somewhere between humorous and macabre. It is not intended to be a “serious” work.

Sumervar was written in 1988. The title is a short version of “orchestral variations on the medieval round sumer is icumen in.” The theme, heard in the piccolo, oboe and clarinet, is light-hearted and so too are the variations. There are several references to summer, including a little folk song that I learned as a young piano student. The piece ends with the theme played backwards in canon, accompanied by the strings, which should sound like an audio file in reverse. 

[Program notes by the composer]

About the Composer

Carol Barnett (b. 1949) creates audacious and engaging music, both for traditional instrumentation, and for cross-pollinations such as a mass accompanied by a bluegrass band or a duet for steel pan and organ. A force in the Minnesota music scene since 1970, her work has been funded by multiple regional and national organizations, and published through major houses. Carol is a charter member of the American Composers Forum and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. She was composer in residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001, and taught composition at Augsburg College from 2000 to 2015.

For additional information, please contact the composer:


Performance Materials

Overture to the Midnight Spectacle

View perusal score:

Purchase score and parts:



View Perusal score:

Score and parts available from the Free Library of Philadelphia:



Reference recordings:

Overture to the Midnight Spectacle