- Released: May 20, 1997
- Label: RCA
- 1.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - Strings of The Boston Symphony Orchestra
- 2.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - James Galway
- 3.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - The Canadian Brass
- 4.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11: Angus Dei - The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
- 5.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - Richard Stoltzman
- 6.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - Tokyo String Quartet
- 7.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - David Pizarro
- 8.Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 - Smithsonian Chamber Players
Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings
is a powerful piece, packed with emotional intensity yet also extraordinarily listenable--and popular. Here, Barber's short masterwork of simplicity and resonance gets eight treatments, from those he approved of (Charles Munch and the strings of the Boston Symphony; the Tokyo String Quartet; organist David Pizarro; and the Smithsonian Chamber Players) to new interpretations that don't quite match with the older renditions.
James Galway's new flute-and-synthesizer reading is a bit anemic, though thankfully not showy, and the Canadian Brass's arrangement is likewise tempered and calm, even if not very close to having significant bite. Richard Stoltzman and the Kalman Clarinet Choir probably do the best job of taking Barber to new places; the woody tones mesh almost polyphonically. Also included is the Choir of Trinity College's reading of Agnus Dei, Barber's choral setting of the Adagio, a distillation that might well be the high point of the CD. For the most stunning rendition of the Adagio, however, listeners should really hear the Thomas Schippers version. --Andrew Bartlett
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