Friday, November 10, 2006

The World's Saddest Music

At least that's what responders to a poll by the BBC called it. I'm refering to the 20th century American composer Samuel Barber's piece Adagio for Strings.  I've always loved his work, and this is really his signature piece.  He also wrote a major piano sonata, three operas and numerous songs, and was a very talented singer.  He was typical of 20th century American composers in that he had one foot in the real world of popular and quasi classical music and one foot in the avant guard world of neoclassical composition.

Written in 1936, it was originally part of the larger String Quartet No.1 Op. 11 and was composed in the arch form that uses the repetition in reverse order of musical elements to create a symmetrical whole.

It's pretty mournful stuff, and was played at the funerals of both FDR and JFK.  But there is also a pensive, prayerful and reflective quality that give it great beauty.  Here's a place to download the first third or so (about 7 minutes) of the piece.

So listen, reflect and enjoy.




Blogger R2K said...

: )

2:50 PM  
Blogger Richard in NY said...

wow, my first comment.


3:13 PM  
Anonymous J Palacios said...

Thank you very much for this introduction.

4:27 AM  

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