Barber finished the arrangement in 1936, the same year that he wrote the quartet. It was performed for the first time on November 5, 1938, by Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in a radio broadcast from NBC Studio 8H. Toscanini also played the piece on his South American tour with the NBC Symphony in 1940.
Its reception was generally positive, with Alexander J. Morin writing that Adagio for Strings is "full of pathos and cathartic passion" and that it "rarely leaves a dry eye." The music is the setting for Barber's 1967 choral arrangement of Agnus Dei. Adagio for Strings has been featured in many TV shows and movies.
|Adagio for Strings|
|by Samuel Barber|
Samuel Barber, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944
|Based on||Barber's String Quartet|
|Duration||About 8 minutes|
|Date||November 5, 1938|
|Location||NBC Studio 8H, New York City|
|Performers||NBC Symphony Orchestra|
Thirty-second sample of Adagio for Strings
Barber's Adagio for Strings was originally the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, composed in 1936 while he was spending a summer in Europe with his partner Gian Carlo Menotti, an Italian composer who was a fellow student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He was inspired by Virgil's Georgics. In the quartet, the Adagio follows a violently contrasting first movement (Molto allegro e appassionato) and is succeeded by music that opens with a brief reprise of the music from the first movement (marked Molto allegro (come prima) – Presto).
In January 1938, Barber sent an orchestrated version of the Adagio for Strings to Arturo Toscanini. The conductor returned the score without comment, which annoyed Barber. Toscanini sent word through Menotti that he was planning to perform the piece and had returned it simply because he had already memorized it. It was reported that Toscanini did not look at the music again until the day before the premiere. On November 5, 1938, a selected audience was invited to Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center to watch Toscanini conduct the first performance; it was broadcast on radio and also recorded. Initially, the critical reception was positive, as seen in the review by The New York Times's Olin Downes. Downes praised the piece, but he was reproached by other critics who claimed that he overrated it.
Toscanini conducted Adagio for Strings in South America and Europe, the first performances of the work on both continents. Over April 16–19, 1942, the piece had public performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy at Carnegie Hall. Like the original 1938 performance, these were broadcast on radio and recorded.
The lower strings come in two beats after the violins, which, as Johanna Keller from The New York Times put it, creates "an uneasy, shifting suspension as the melody begins a stepwise motion, like the hesitant climbing of stairs." NPR Music said that "with a tense melodic line and taut harmonies, the composition is considered by many to be the most popular of all 20th-century orchestral works." Thomas Larson remarked that the piece "evokes a deep sadness in those who hear it". Many recordings of the piece have a duration of about eight minutes. The work is largely in the key of B♭ minor.
The Adagio is an example of arch form and builds on a melody that first ascends and then descends in stepwise fashion. Barber subtly manipulates the basic pulse throughout the work by constantly changing time signatures including 4
2, and 3
2. After four climactic chords and a long pause, the piece presents the opening theme again and fades away on an unresolved dominant chord.
Music critic Olin Downes wrote that the piece is very simple at climaxes but reasoned that the simple chords create significance for the piece. Downes went on to say: "That is because we have here honest music, by an honest musician, not striving for pretentious effect, not behaving as a writer would who, having a clear, short, popular word handy for his purpose, got the dictionary and fished out a long one."
Alexander J. Morin, author of Classical Music: The Listener's Companion, said that the piece was "full of pathos and cathartic passion" and that it "rarely leaves a dry eye." In 1938, Olin Downes noted that with the piece, Barber "achieved something as perfect in mass and detail as his craftsmanship permits."
In an edition of A Conductor's Analysis of Selected Works, John William Mueller devoted over 20 pages to Adagio for Strings. Wayne Clifford Wentzel, author of Samuel Barber: A Research and Information Guide (Composer Resource Manuals), said that it was a piece usually selected for a closing act because it was moderately famous. Roy Brewer, writer for AllMusic, said that it was one of the most recognizable pieces of American concert music.
Strickland, while assistant organist at St Bartholomew's Church in New York, had been impressed by Toscanini's recording of the work and had submitted his own arrangement for organ to Schirmers. After he made contact with Barber at a musical soirée in 1939, he learned that his transcription had received a lukewarm response from the composer. Strickland, subsequently appointed wartime director of music at the Army's Fort Myer in Virginia, became a champion of Barber's new compositions. He continued to correspond with the composer.
In 1945 Barber wrote to Strickland, expressing his dissatisfaction with previously proposed organ arrangements; he encouraged him to discuss and prepare his own version for publication.
Schirmers have had several organ arrangements submitted of my Adagio for Strings and many inquiries as to whether it exists for organ. I have always turned them down, as, I know little about the organ, I am sure your arrangement would be best. Have you got the one you did before, if not, would you be willing to make it anew? If so, will you ever be in N.Y. on leave, so I could discuss it with you and hear it? If it is done at all, I should like it done as well as possible, and this by you. They would pay you a flat fee for the arrangement, although I don't suppose it will be very much. However, that is their affair. Let me know what you think about it.
Strickland, having kept the piece, sent his organ arrangement to G. Schirmer. The company published it in 1949.
The recording of the world premiere in 1938, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress. Since the 1938 recording, the Adagio for Strings has frequently been heard throughout the world, and it was one of the few American pieces to be played in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The Adagio for Strings has been performed on many public occasions, especially during times of mourning. It was:
Adagio for Strings is the final song on the 2010 Peter, Paul and Mary compilation album Peter Paul and Mary, With Symphony Orchestra. Mary Travers had requested that Adagio for Strings be played at her memorial service.
The Adagio for Strings was one of John F. Kennedy's favorite pieces of music. Jackie Kennedy arranged a concert the Monday after his death with the National Symphony Orchestra; they played to an empty hall. The concert was broadcast by radio. Barber knew about these memorial occasions. He did a radio interview about it with WQXR and said, "They always play that piece. I wish they'd play some of my other pieces."
In 2004, listeners of the BBC's Today program voted Adagio for Strings the "saddest classical" work ever, ahead of "Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's 5th symphony, Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss, and Gloomy Sunday as sung by Billie Holiday.
Adagio for Strings can be heard on many film, televison, and game soundtracks.
The work is extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance. Artists who have covered it include William Orbit, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Mark Sixma, Bastille, and Lucas & Steve.
"Adagio for Strings" is a song by Dutch DJ Tiësto. It was first released in January 2005 as the fourth single from the album Just Be. The song is a cover of the original composition by Samuel Barber. It was voted by Mixmag readers as the second greatest dance record of all time.Adagio for Strings (disambiguation)
Adagio for Strings may refer to:
Samuel Barber's 1936 work, Adagio for Strings
Remo Giazotto's 1958 work, Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ that is also associated with Tomaso Albinoni
Lee Jackson's 1994 arrangement of Giazotto's work for the computer game Rise of the Triad
William Orbit's 2000 version of Barber's work, with mixing by Ferry Corsten
DJ Tiësto's 2005 version of Barber's work, "Adagio for Strings" (Tiësto song)
Andrew Hulshult's 2013 version of Lee Jackson's arrangement, for the 2013 reboot of Rise of the TriadAgnus Dei (Barber)
Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is a choral composition in one movement by Samuel Barber, his own arrangement of his Adagio for Strings (1936). In 1967, he set the Latin words of the liturgical Agnus Dei, a part of the Mass, for mixed chorus with optional organ or piano accompaniment. The music, in B-flat minor, has a duration of about eight minutes.Agnus Dei (music)
Agnus Dei, referring to the Christian theological concept of the Lamb of God and the associated liturgical text from the Roman Catholic Latin Mass, has been set to music by many composers, as it is normally one of the movements or sections in a sung Mass setting. However, sometimes it stands alone, e.g. it provides the lyrics for Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, the choral arrangement of his Adagio for Strings.Arch form
In music, arch form is a sectional structure for a piece of music based on repetition, in reverse order, of all or most musical sections such that the overall form is symmetric, most often around a central movement. The sections need not be repeated verbatim but must at least share thematic material.
It creates interest through interplay among "memory, variation, and progression". Though the form appears to be static and to deny progress, the pairs of movements create an "undirectional process" with the center, and the form "actually engenders specific expressive possibilities that would otherwise be unavailable for the work as a whole".Béla Bartók is noted for his use of arch form, e.g., in his fourth and fifth string quartets, Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, second piano concerto, and, to a lesser extent, in his second violin concerto. Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 in C minor also use arch form.
The most popular arch-form structure is ABCBA.Essay for Orchestra
Samuel Barber's Essay for Orchestra, Op. 12, completed in the first half of 1938, is an orchestral work in one movement. It was given its first performance by Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on November 5, 1938 in New York in a radio broadcast concert in which the composer's Adagio for Strings saw its first performance. It lasts around 8 minutes and is dedicated "To C.E." The essay is now known as the First Essay for Orchestra after Barber wrote his Second Essay for Orchestra in 1942. He also wrote a Third Essay in 1978.
Barber visited Toscanini several times in 1933 at his villa on Isola di San Giovanni in Lago Maggiore, and the world-famous conductor told Barber that he would like to perform one of his works. This was a great honor for the young composer, particularly because Toscanini rarely performed works by contemporary or American composers. Barber presented his work to Toscanini in the spring of 1938, together with the score of the Adagio for Strings (Heyman 1992, 162–66).
The First Essay resembles but is not equivalent to a first movement of a symphony (Heyman 1992, 166).
Besides the world premiere in 1938, Toscanini also performed the music on January 24, 1942, in a special War Bonds performance that was preserved on transcription discs; Toscanini never made a commercial recording of the music. Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded the music in 1942 for RCA Victor in the Academy of Music. Neeme Järvi with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Daniel Kawka with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI have all recorded all three of Barber's Essays.In Saturn's Rings
In Saturn's Rings is a large format movie about Saturn made exclusively from real photographs taken by spacecraft. Director Stephen van Vuuren used more than 7.5 million photographs and numerous film techniques to create the effect of flying through space around Saturn and among its rings. CGI and 3-D modeling were not used in any capacity to create the realistic feel van Vuuren wanted for the viewer's experience. Most of the photos were taken by various major space missions.
The film was originally expected to be released on December 31, 2014. It was scheduled for release on May 4, 2018, to coincide with Star Wars Day. The 45-minute film will be released in four formats:
Native unmodified fulldome with true fulldome camera field-of-view.
Dome-optimized master for digital (8K and 4K resolution) and 15/70.
Flat-screen, 1.33-ratio, 4K giant screen version digital and 15/70.
Digital cinema 4K/2K in flat aspect ratio.Just Be
Just Be is the second studio album by Dutch DJ Tiësto. It was released on 6 April 2004 in the Netherlands and 15 May 2004 in the United States (see 2004 in music). The album features BT, Kirsty Hawkshaw, and Aqualung on vocals. There is also a remake of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings". The album's singles were "Love Comes Again", "Traffic", "Just Be" (the title track), and "Adagio for Strings". The track "Sweet Misery" was originally written for Evanescence but it did not meet the deadline for the release of their album.Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck (born 17 September 1958, in Nenzing) is an Austrian conductor and the Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/2009 season. In 2018, he was named Artist of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards. On January 28, 2018, Honeck and the PSO were awarded the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The recording won a second Grammy for Best Engineered Album (Mark Donahue, engineer).Nigel Brooks
Nigel Brooks (born 1936) is an English composer, arranger and conductor. He was born in Barnstaple and spent most of his childhood in Ilfracombe, North Devon. He attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. For much of his career he was an orchestral arranger, particularly for the BBC and also conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra. He formed his own musical ensemble "The Nigel Brooks Singers" which appeared on Friday Night is Music Night and earned three gold discs, and two silver.He has written three ballets for Sadler's Wells (Barnstaple Fair, Seven Cameos for Combe and The Water Babies), and an opera based on Daphne du Maurier's novel Jamaica Inn. He was married to Jean, whose death was commemorated by his adagio for strings To My Love.Parade of the Athletes
Parade of the Athletes is a retrospective mix by Dutch DJ Tiësto of his live set performed during the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece on 13 August 2004 (see 2004 in music). This was the first time that a DJ was asked to perform for a ceremony at the Olympics. Recognizing one of their own, the Dutch team came up to the booth while Tiësto was performing this set. All of the songs on this track are original songs composed by Tiësto except for "Adagio for Strings", which is his own remix of Samuel Barber's piece by the same name (the remix was also influenced by William Orbit's original electronic remix of the song in 1999), and "Athena", which is also a remix of Adagio in G minor, a piece often attributed to Tomaso Albinoni, but actually composed by Remo Giazotto.
The album contains 8 new tracks composed exclusively for the Olympic Games Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony, and 4 other well-known tracks ("Traffic", "Lethal Industry", "Adagio for Strings" and "Forever Today"). An unmixed version was also released.Pieces in a Modern Style
Pieces in a Modern Style is the sixth album by electronic instrumentalist William Orbit. He is credited as arranger, programmer, producer, and performer of the album. It was released in 2000 by WEA and Warner Music UK in Europe and Maverick Records in the United States. Barber's Adagio for Strings was the first single from the album, however the version played on radio and television was a remix by Ferry Corsten. The album is a fusion of classical music, electronica, ambient music and chill out music and contains no vocals. The Adagio single reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1999.
The second single was Pavane pour une Infante Défunte. This again had a different arrangement to the album version, but this time was done by Orbit himself. The single reached #31 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2000.
The album was originally released in May 1995 on Orbit's N-Gram Recordings label, credited to Orbit alias The Electric Chamber. This version is not widely available, as it was withdrawn from sale almost immediately when Arvo Pärt objected to its inclusion of his compositions Fratres and Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten. The version issued in 2000 replaced these pieces with works by Beethoven, Vivaldi, Handel and Mascagni, and reached #2 in the UK Album Charts.
A Deutsche Grammophon 2000 release Pieces In The Original Style: Bohemia (Catalogue number 463 450-2) featured the original versions of the tracks on this CD, which included contributions from Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yo-Yo Ma, Gidon Kremer and Mark Seltser; conductors included Leonard Bernstein, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Herbert von Karajan.In 2010 a follow-up, entitled simply Pieces in a Modern Style 2, was released.Samuel Barber
Samuel Osborne Barber II (March 9, 1910 – January 23, 1981) was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century; music critic Donal Henahan stated that "probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim."His Adagio for Strings (1936) has earned a permanent place in the concert repertory of orchestras. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music twice: for his opera Vanessa (1956–57) and for the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1962). Also widely performed is his Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1947), a setting for soprano and orchestra of a prose text by James Agee. At the time of Barber's death, nearly all of his compositions had been recorded.String Quartet (Barber)
The String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 was written in 1935–36 by Samuel Barber. Barber arranged the middle movement for string orchestra as his well-known Adagio for Strings in 1936. Barber continued to revise the piece, particularly the finale, until 1943.
Molto allegro e appassionato
Molto adagio [attacca]
Molto allegro (come prima)Begun while living in Austria with his partner Gian Carlo Menotti after Barber's Prix de Rome, Barber intended that the quartet be premiered by the Curtis String Quartet, but did not finish the piece in time for their concert tour. On September 19, 1936, Barber wrote their cellist Orlando Cole: "I have just finished the slow movement of my quartet today—it is a knockout! Now for a Finale." Having completed a finale, the string quartet was premiered in its provisional form by the Pro Arte Quartet on December 14, 1936, at the Villa Aurelia in Rome. Afterward Barber withdrew the finale so as to rewrite it, which he did by April 1937. He rewrote it again before it was published. The final form was premiered by the Budapest Quartet on May 28, 1943, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.The opening movement is in sonata form, the second movement a famous adagio, and the final version of the finale, added to the second movement attacca, is shortened, lasting two-minutes, and revisits themes from the opening movement, thereby creating a cyclic form for the quartet. The opening movement has three theme areas, the first a dramatic motif stated in unison by all four instruments, the second slinky chorale like music, and the third a yearning lyrical melody. The quartet as a whole is in the key of B minor, however the central movement is in B♭ minor. The materials of the second movement consist of "a very slow and extended melody built from stepwise intervals, slightly varied in its numerous repetitions, uncoiling over (or in the midst of) sustained chords that change with note-by-note reluctance, all of it building into a powerful climax at the high end of the instruments' range and then quickly receding to the contemplative quietude that ultimately defines this musical expanse."Barber accepted a commission for a second string quartet in 1947, but never got past a few pages of sketches.Symphony No. 4 (Tansman)
The Symphony No. 4 in C-sharp minor by Alexander Tansman was written between 1936 and 1939. In the meantine Tansman acquired French citizenship and married pianist Colette Cras, to whom the symphony is dedicated (À ma femme). Despite dating from his most successful period it wasn't premiered in his lifetime, only receiving its first performance in a 1998 studio recording by the Bamberg Symphony conducted by Israel Yinon, 12 years after the composer's death.It lasts around 20/25 minutes and consists of three movements: a tense Allegro with a somber slow introduction, an introspective Adagio for strings alone and a contrapuntal finale fusing baroque and jazz influences which has been compared to Hindemith.
Adagio — Allegro deciso
Allegro giocosoTaliesin Orchestra
The Taliesin Orchestra (alternately known as Taliesin) is an American musical group (generally classified as new-age) that specializes in remaking famous songs into orchestra-style melodies. The band's first album, Orinoco Flow: The Music of Enya, was a collection of songs originally created and sung by Enya; it was released in 1996. Since then the band has recorded several other albums, some of them being further Enya remakes, but also including albums of songs by George Winston and Jim Brickman. Originally on Anthem (1997) and again on Rock Rhapsody (2008) the band covered such famous songs such as Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", Eric Clapton's "Layla" and The Beatles' "Hey Jude". The band covered the famous music piece "Adagio For Strings"
The Taliesin Orchestra is led by keyboardist Trammell Starks and features the voice, vocal arranging, vocal production, and in some cases songwriting of Felicia Farerre (aka Felicia Sorensen). Charles Sayre acts as conductor, producer and arranger.The Union Chapel Concert
The Union Chapel Concert is a live album by Guy Evans and Peter Hammill, recorded in the Union Chapel in London, 3 November 1996, and released as a double CD in March 1997. The album is noteworthy because it is the first time the four ex-members of Van der Graaf Generator, Hammill, Evans, Hugh Banton and David Jackson, played together in front of a paying audience since the band had broken up in 1978. The subtitle on the front of the album reads: "featuring a one song, one-off reformation of Van der Graaf Generator." David Jackson and Hugh Banton were unannounced guests and played a Soundbeam-medley and a Samuel Barber Adagio for strings on the church organ respectively. All songs that evening were played in varying line-ups. Only "Lemmings" was played by Hammill, Evans, Banton and Jackson.
|Opera and vocal|
|Chamber and solo|
List of compositions by Samuel Barber Portal:Classical music