10/07/2008

Adagio for Strings

The most popular piece by American composer Samuel Barber, this piece is for a string orchestra. A very good description is given by Wiki:

The piece uses an arch form, employing and then inverting, expanding, and varying a stepwise ascending melody. The long flowing melodic line moves freely between the voices in the string choir: for example, the first section of the Adagio begins with the principal melodic cell played by first violins, but ends with its restatement by violas, transposed down a fifth. Violas continue with a variation on the melodic cell in the second section; the basses are silent for this and the next section. The expansive middle section begins with the cellos playing the principal melodic cell in mezzo-soprano range; as the section builds, the string choir moves up the scale to their highest registers, culminating in a fortissimo-forte climax followed by sudden silence. A brief series of mournful chords serve as a coda to this portion of the piece, and reintroduces the bass section. The last section is a restatement of the original theme, with an inversion of the second piece of the melodic cell, played by first violins and violas in unison; the piece ends with first violins slowly restating the first five notes of the melody in alto register, holding the last note over a brief silence and a fading accompaniment.


The rise of the music into silence is beautifully carried by the string orchestra components, fluidly shifting between the violins, the violas & the bass section. This music is inspiring & sad in its own way. 


Feel free to contact me for the mp3 of this piece, string lovers will enjoy this piece fully :)

1 comment:

gravitino said...

Hello!
I like the piece. I came to know it when I watched the movie 'Platoon' and 'the elephant man'. I feel It fit both. Especially, as for Platoon, the piece was played at the famous climax scene of this Vietnam war movie.