Thursday, January 18, 2007

NPR : The Impact of Barber's 'Adagio for Strings'


When I saw the title of this NPR piece show up on my iPod, I was psyched because this is one of my all time favorite pieces of music (as I'm sure it is with many others). Afterwards, I was really impressed with this superbly produced and enlightening NPR podcast as well. Many people have called this a mournful, sad piece, but I totally disagree. To me, it is uplifting as it transcends you to a higher peaceful place. I remember hearing it on the radio one night driving down a straight stretch of highway. It was just past dusk, where you could still make out dark trees along the side of the road. As I listened to the slowly repeating triplets, I felt as though the car was rising up above the road. I lifted my head up and looked out at the vast dark sky and felt completeness and oneness with the universe. No, I wasn't sleeping and hadn't been drinking and I did keep my eyes on the road. But is was truly an enlightening experience, brought forth by a beautiful piece of music.

Here's a place to download the piece (about 7 minutes).
NPR Home Page

1 comment :

Bigqueue said...

As I sit here uploading years of old family photos, I decided to take a listen and see what I thought.

I admit to knowing NOTHING, zip, ziltch about Classical music...heck, music at all really. But I have ears, and I have a life, and music, no matter what kind does seem to speak to me from time to time.

So I listened to this about 7 times in total...and I have to admit I am probably colored by the activity I am currently undertaking....but who isn't.

Here I go:

It starts off sounding sort of down, as though there is something sad or dark. Sort of reflecting on something, in an almost accepting but say way.

It then seems to build, (for a short moment) not so much as though someone is battling back, but more as though they are accepting of a situation.

Then a longer series of more mild ups an downs, as one might have in a very average and normal life.....but perhaps as seen from the eyes of a pessimist. There seem to be moments building to ecstasy, and then it does build to quite a nice sense of accomplishment....but then the long pause to a more somber, slow passage leads me to think of disappointment again....not quite sadness.

Then it seems to return to the sort of slow rhythms of "average life"...ups and downs like the waves out on the ocean....no land in sight, just the same.

But this last section is not so long, so perhaps it is sort of a reflection of past life....the past the way it was, or perhaps the way it ultimately always was.

To me it might describe a life....in a way it could be very positive...to me perhaps reflecting back on it at an advanced age and that might in fact be very positive.

But then again my interpretation may be related to what I am doing right now, or "it might be just the result of from some undigested beef." (or whatever Scrooge said trying to explain away the ghost of Christmas Past)

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