Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings


5.0
classic

Review

by SirArthur6 USER (8 Reviews)
July 26th, 2013 | 16 replies | 1,062 views


Release Date: 1936 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s that piece of music that all of you have heard.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

From the sullen sense of bleakness that the opening motif incurs, to the smudged harmonies of whirring passages, to the magnificent emotional heights that fall gloriously yet hopelessly back into brooding strings of notes, this piece maintains a moving atmosphere all the way through, and explores sadness into musical depths that you may not be aware exists. With such rich depth of harmony and a tempo that seems to put everything around you in slow motion, you’ve probably heard this piece soundtrack a particularly emotional moment in TV or film. One might argue it’s been used to point of being cliché, but none other piece that has tried to replicate the effect that this piece gives has come even close.

What makes this piece so effective are the glimmers of hope that Barber teases us with. Every so often he’d play around with major inflections that would cast their hands above the sea to wave at the disappearing land for help only to be consumed by the ocean’s bleak waves. There is one moment, just after half way through the piece, where the string orchestra ascends in slow arpeggios and it feels like the body might make it out of the water as the chords express insurmountable hope… only to pause… and give up... and return to the desolation that it came from.

In ten minutes, Samuel Barber has illustrated a story that is imprinted in our minds, and what makes this piece inarguably a classic is that it conjures feelings from music that I’ve not experienced from not just any other piece of music, but from any other art form there is. To have added lyrics would have been an insult to this piece’s beautiful craftsmanship, and that’s when you know that you’ve got a perfect piece of instrumental music.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
SirArthur6
July 26th 2013



176 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't written a review in months, but then I saw that this did not have review, and then worse, it only had 3 votes. What's going on sputnik? This is as 'classic' as it gets.

mindleviticus
July 26th 2013



8220 Comments


Sad as hell piece.

SirArthur6
July 26th 2013



176 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I seem to like a lot of sad classical music. Without some lead vocalist wailing about their life sucking the focus is just purely on the powerfulness of the music itself which is where this piece in particular is so special.

mindleviticus
July 26th 2013



8220 Comments


What's another piece of really sad classical music you could give me? :]

SirArthur6
July 26th 2013



176 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The only one that matches this is Shostokovich's String quartet No 8 which I did a review on and I think you've commented on.

I'll admit that I've still got a lot to listen to in the classical world to give you much else. Try Mahler's Symphony No 1's Funeral March. That one's really nice too.

SirArthur6
July 26th 2013



176 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Listening to the Mahler, I think I was thinking of a completely different Funeral March. The Mahler's far too happy in comparison. I'm now determined to find the one I was thinking of.

SirArthur6
July 26th 2013



176 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can't seem to find the funeral march but some others popped into mind

Elgar's Cello Concerto (the beginning at least)
Pathetique from Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony
Grieg - Two Elegiac Melodies.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2013



15906 Comments


for sad classical you could try some of the beethoven quartets
no. 7, 3rd movement is fucking beautiful and also no. 15 3rd movement he wrote it when he thought he was about to die or something
Also puccinis Senza Mamma is pretty moving about a baby's death

oh nice review pos

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2013



14027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never realised this review went up, pos'd hard.

Beautiful piece, one of my favs.

Digging: We Will Fail - Verstrung

BigPleb
December 29th 2013



35934 Comments


Sweet riffs.

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2013



14027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They make me feel.

BigPleb
December 29th 2013



35934 Comments


Great review though, thought it was HungryJac review tbh.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2013



14027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pleb you should listen to this I bet you an indeterminate but large sum of money you recognise a portion of it.

BigPleb
December 29th 2013



35934 Comments


Would I dig tho?

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2013



14027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No guitars so prob not nevermind.

BigPleb
December 29th 2013



35934 Comments


Cheeky straya.



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