A socially distanced performance of Barber’s Adagio for Strings by the Berlin Philharmonic, recorded in May 2020

Adagio for Strings is a work by Samuel Barber composed in 1936 and arranged for string orchestra from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11.

Samuel Barber.jpg
Samuel Barber in 1944.

Samuel Barber ( 1910- 1981) was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral and piano music.

The piece builds on a melody that first ascends and then descends in a stepwise fashion.

The Adagio for Strings is arguably Barber’s best known work and has been performed on many public occasions, especially during times of mourning. It can also be heard on many film, television and game soundtracks. The work is extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance. Here is one such arrangement:

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