Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adagio For Strings

Adagio for Strings is a work for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from his String Quartet composed in 1936. The recording of the 1938 world premiere, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.

In 2004, listeners of the BBC's Today program voted Adagio for Strings the "saddest classical" work ever. The piece was played at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco and at the funeral of Albert Einstein. It was broadcast over the radio at the announcement of Franklin D. Roosevelt's death. It was performed in 2001 at Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks, replacing the traditional upbeat patriotic songs. It was also played during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The work is extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance. Artists who have covered it include Armin van Buuren, William Orbit, Ferry Corsten and Tiësto, with Corsten's arrangement reaching #4 in the UK singles chart. 

The clip on the left is the original version played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Sir Simon Rattle. On the right is a trance version by Tiësto.

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