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- Released: July 28, 2009
- Originally Released: 2009
- Label: Telarc
American conductor Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings is widely considered a masterwork of modern classical music. On the advice of Arturo Toscanini, Barber reworked the Adagio movement from his first string quartet for a full string orchestra. Toscanini introduced Adagio for Strings in New York in 1938 and included it on his South American tour program. Through Toscanini's recording, the Adagio for Strings was Barber's first work to reach a wide audience. Its sad but noble quality expressed the grief of millions when it was selected for radio play immediately after the announcement of President Franklin Roosevelt's death in 1945. The piece has since remained among the first choices for music expressing sorrow and honor on the death of great public figures. Barber's Agnus Dei, performed a cappella by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus, was a choral setting of the traditional Latin prayer "Agnus Dei" derived from the same Adagio movement in his first string quartet, the Adagio for Strings.
John Corigliano's Elegy for orchestra was based on an incidental score he wrote for an off-Broadway production of Wallace Frey's Helen - an account of the aging Helen of Troy. He dedicated it to Samuel Barber, although it was not written in memory of Barber, as he was still very much alive when Mr. Corigliano wrote the piece in 1965. However, Mr. Barber was a valued mentor and friend, who brought the then-unknown composer to the attention of G. Schirmer, which continues to be Mr. Corigliano's publisher. Today, Mr. Corigliano is considered one of America's most prominent composers. He has been honored with a Grawemeyer Award, a Pulitzer Prize, several GRAMMY® Awards, as well as an Oscar for the soundtrack to the 1998 film, The Red Violin.