Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Adagio for Strings - Samuel Barber: Relaxing Grass In the Wind

Adagio for Strings is a work by Samuel Barber, arguably his most well known, arranged for string orchestra from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11.

Barber finished the arrangement in 1936, the same year that he wrote the quartet. It was performed for the first time in 1938, in a radio broadcast from a New York studio attended by an invited audience, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who also took the piece on tour to Europe and South America. 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 can be heard in many TV shows and movies.

Nature has a wonderful ability to relax the mind, and so I found the simple images of grass blowing in the wind to set this music to. The gentle swirl of the grasses, swaying back and forward seems to turn into a dance as music begins to take over.

Originally uploaded to Youtube on 21st May 2014