ADAGIO FOR STRINGS is a work by Samuel Barber, arguably his best known, arranged for string orchestra from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, completed in 1936. But its orchestral version remained popular, especially after the 1938 performance in New York by the National Public Radio Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, who rarely performed music by American composers but after the first rehearsal of the Adagio he would declare, “Semplice e bella” – “Simple and beautiful” – and included the work in his concert tour of the Americas and Europe. The Adagio was later performed at the funeral ceremonies of Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and President Kennedy, at London’s Albert Hall at the 2001 concert in memory of the victims of 9/11, and in numerous film and television productions. The Adagio was named the saddest classical work by a BBC Today programme poll in 2004.



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