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Adagio (Italian: at ease; at a leisurely pace). Anindication of tempo, sometimes used to describe a slow movement.
Take off your shoes, sit back in your favourite chair andimmerse yourself in some of the most tranquil music of the past 300 years.
Music has been used for centuries to relax and soothe the mind and body, andthis collection brings together works from all over the world - some familiar,some not so well-known - to ease away the stresses of the day.
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Adagio for Strings
Few twentieth century pieces have caught the publicimagination quite like Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. Originally conceivedas the central movement of his String Quartet in B minor, it was laterorchestrated by the composer at a request from the conductor Arturo Toscaninifor a piece for his first season with the newly-formed NBC Symphony Orchestra.
The piece gained international repute after it was performed at the funerals ofsuch luminaries as President Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Albert Einstein,and has since been used in films such as Platoon, Lorenzo's Oil and TheElephant Man. It is an extraordinarily expressive piece of music, unfolding ina series of dynamic terraces with the intensity increasing as the rapt mood iseffortlessly sustained throughout. It culminates in an impassioned climaxfollowed by a heartfelt pause, and the melody resumes its elegiac course,resolving as if with a benediction.
Ifyou enjoyed the Adagio for Strings, why not try:
8.559088 Barber:Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 (includes Adagio for Strings and Cello Concerto)
8.559044 Barber:Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 (includes Violin Concerto)
RoyalScottish National Orchestra, Marin Alsop
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 21 in D major, K467 'Elvira Madigan':Andante
Mozart wrote an astonishing number of works in his shortlifetime. Among these are 27 concertos \for keyboard": the piano as we know ittoday was not fully developed until the very end of the eighteenth century, soMozart's concertos were probably intended for performance on the fortepiano(the modern piano's immediate predecessor). They are generally referred tothese days as "piano concertos" as they are mostly performed on modern pianos.
Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 is one of the most typical of his orchestralworks, with two lively outer movements framing this gorgeous lyrical Andante.
This movement in particular is testament to Mozart's unqualified genius as acomposer: though the musical language is actually rather complex, there isabsolutely no feeling that any of the music is in any way forced - anachievement hardly any composer before or since has come near.
Ifyou would like to hear the rest of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, try:
8.550434 Mozart:Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 21
JenoJando (piano), Concentus Hungaricus, Andras Ligeti
Mozart'scomplete piano concertos are available on 11 CDs:
8.550201 Vol. 1 8.550206 Vol. 6
8.550202 Vol. 2 8.550207 Vol. 7
8.550203 Vol. 3 8.550208 Vol. 8
8.550204 Vol. 4 8.550209 Vol. 9
8.550205 Vol. 5 8.550210 Vol. 10
8.550212 Vol. 11
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3 - Melodie
The name of Sergei Rachmaninov needs no introduction to anylover of Romantic piano music: his Piano Concerto No. 2, used in such classicfilms as Brief Encounter and by far the best known of his works, arguablyrepresents the zenith of Romantic concerto writing. His works for solo pianoare slightly less famous than his compositions for piano and orchestra. Writtenin the autumn of 1892, when Rachmaninov was nineteen and had just graduatedfrom the Moscow Conservatory, the Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3 comprise fivepiano miniatures each with a character described in the title of the piece. Thethird of the set is this exquisite Melodie, so called because of the simplemelody that traces its way through the accompanying harmonies, from theperformer's right to his left hand and back again.
Rachmaninov'scomplete Morceaux de Fantaisie can be heard on: