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the word whisperer

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Adagio For Strings

When I hear the poignant Adagio for Strings, Op.11, by Samuel Barber, I associate the piece with the song of a lonely and gentle, suffering heart. The grave prolonged melodies of the beginning reflect a powerful, pulling-like tension that seeps into the very core of life. The finely-made contrasts are truthfully effective, and the intertwining lines are incredibly lush, representing a fully understood sorrow.

The melodies are like waves, gliding smoothly over each other, every one ending in a piercing question. Each note has its own meaning – a meaning of reality unanswered. Wide-arched and soul-torturing, the questions build up like painful anguish with gradual, increasing tenseness, leading into an overflowing climax that suddenly bursts into meditative silence.

After a long, beautiful pause, chords of despair echo quietly. As the piece returns to the initial melodies, the high notes of the violins seem to be sadly delicate as never before, like the sparkling gems of a shattered heart. The sufferer is left with nothing but what he started out with, yet he has lost all strength to go through the same process again. He cannot keep on bearing such a cruel burden of pressuring pain. With the last few notes of a tottering strain, emptiness falls, portraying the agonizing reality of the outcome. The latter is faced by all: the composer, the listeners, the performers, and by the music itself.

The Adagio for Strings reflects the distressing years of World War II, and each instrument seems to be a part of this misery: the violins pass on delicate emotions of a frail, beating heart; the lush voices of the violas reach deep into the fragile human soul with questions of anguish; the cellos’ expressions represent the torture of the soul and the despair that is brought about; and the double basses symbolize the strained, pressured burden, as well as the echo of the grave emptiness that follows.

The Adagio’s tender emotionalism goes straight to the heart, for it came forth from the living nucleus, and the finely-spun cantilena envelops the listener with poignant, frail pathos united with the harmonic opulence of sorrow.

14 Comments:

  • wow this is simply beautifully written... i love adiago for strings, it is a truly stirrring piece...

    By Blogger Jes, at January 11, 2005  

  • If you are interested in writing for some money, email me (seriously). ystrickler AT yahoo.com.

    By Blogger Yancey, at January 31, 2005  

  • You were able to find words to describe this piece that I was unable to find. I admire your writing ability and hope that you continue furthering your talent.

    By Blogger ammk12, at April 11, 2005  

  • Cool blog you have. I have a online cello music sheets
    related site. Check it out if you get a chance. The URL is online cello music sheets

    By Blogger cellos-3E7E0E, at October 22, 2005  

  • Adagio for string has got to be one of the best, no not one, it is the best peice of classical music i have ever heard. It goes deep into the heart of anyone who hears it. It reflects any kind of sadness any human being on this planet could ever have felt. I absolutly adore this piece of music and play it over and over again without getting bored, each time i listen to it i feel a different emotion. The first time i heard this piece was when i watched the film "platoon" since then i've been hooked. Each and everytime i listen to it i am sure enough to cry. It really does capture your emotions. I'm not a classical music lover but if this is what i can expect from it then im sure i will be hooked.

    By Blogger maxine, at March 13, 2006  

  • Wow! that was as well written/articulated as was the music it describes! if you are interested I can share some interesting touching/moving music with you - email me if you are interested!

    By Blogger Madhan, at June 12, 2006  

  • The depths of emotion you write about
    convey to me your sensitivity. How do
    you function daily in this cold, cruel
    21st century? I cannot locate others
    like you, for I to feel first and think lastly. Where should I hang out
    to find others with like spirts?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 28, 2007  

  • I was never into classical music, but this piece of music is simply amazing, it brings many emotions and feelings to my heart..I first heard it in the Elephant Man when it came out 27 years ago...I remember the very moment and just broke down and cried seeing how the music was related to the suffering and torture he went through in his life..then in Platoon..simply an amazing piece of work..very sad and enduring, but also hopeful at the same time..this piece had changed my view of classical music..masterpiece

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 17, 2007  

  • i'm just need a cord for adagio for string, accidentally read your post, well, this music is amazing, and your comment make it more amazing, nice blog.

    By Anonymous fringe, at November 30, 2008  

  • This is the most moving piece of classical music that I have ever heard. It just reaches deep into the deepest part of your soul and MAKES you experience the emotion that most closely correlates with the song. It is truly a work of genius.

    By Blogger Ulrich, at December 11, 2009  

  • My goodness your interpretation of this piece of art is tremendous. Well done! This made my day, thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2010  

  • This is a pure beauty / Art!
    Perfection at its best! Yorik, you rock big times man! Kudos!!!

    //K. Wasseem

    By Anonymous kwasseem, at April 01, 2011  

  • Like the music itself, you wrote exquisitely. Wow.

    By Blogger Sandra, at April 26, 2011  

  • Nice explanation - but the piece was written and adapted for string orchestra in 1936, before WWII

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 14, 2012  

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