This piece, written in 1936 as part of Barber’s “String Quartet , Op. 11” was the topic of a lecture at the Hudson Opera House given by Thomas Larson Sunday.
Larson is the author of “The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’,” recently published by Pegasus Books. [Register Star]
I don't know that it is the saddest, it is certainly a moving piece.
Certainly here Leonard Slatkin puts on a sad face.
Original broadcast from the Albert Hall in London September 15 2001. Leonard Slatkin conducts the BBC Orchestra.
But then again DJ Tiesto does something a little bit different.
Tiesto in Concert 2004, Adagio for Strings
Electric Violinist Linzi Stoppard Rocks Adagio For Strings...
Then you can take it and make it work for the human voice.
Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings, Op. 11: Angus Dei - performed by The Choir Of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Or another style of stings, the cello.
Transcribed by Ekachai Maskulrat.
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Cello Choir:
Elizabeth Tan Suyin
Or maybe try it with brass.
Recording of the cd "Movie Brass" near Cremona, Italy
Marco Braito & Marco Pierobon Trumpets
Nilo Caracristi French Horn
Gianluca Scipioni Trombone
Oswald Prader Tuba
Then we might like to try a saxophone quartet.
Hanumi Saxophone Quartet plays Adagio for strings by Samuel Barber ( arr. Johan van der Linden)
And last, but by no means least we have the TetraWind version. A Woodwind Quartet.
June 22, 2008 - TetraWind performs Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library. Featuring Shawn Wyckoff - flute, Megan Marolf - oboe, Sean Rice - clarinet, Alexander Popov - bassoon. Filmed by Maria Millar.
Adagio for Strings is a work for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from the second movement of his String Quartet.
Barber's Adagio for Strings began as the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, composed in 1936 while Barber 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. In the quartet the Adagio follows a violently contrasting first movement (Molto allegro e appassionato) and is succeeded by music which 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 to Arturo Toscanini. The conductor returned the score without comment, which annoyed Barber, who evaded an invitation from the conductor. Toscanini then 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. The work was given its first performance in a radio broadcast by Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on November 5, 1938 in New York.
The composer also transcribed the piece in 1967 for eight-part choir, as a setting of the Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God"). [Wikipedia]