In her book on Samuel Barber, Barbara Heyman suggests the work "marks the high point in Barber's career." In a review of the Naxos recording, Robert Cummings says it is "masterful" but suffers from too much thematic repetition. Paul Cook writes that:
It's no cakewalk and should have more currency than it does.
...it's really a throwback to a Romantic style, and in many ways it's Barber's answer to the Bartok 2nd. But it's also really Barber the man.
And Walter Simmons asserts that while Barber's individual works get recognition, overall, he is not well understood as an American composer due to the (misguided) focus on Charles Ives and John Cage.