On Sunday, October 28 be the first to witness the Bechtler Ensemble’s welcome back performance featuring “Adagio for Strings.” Correlating to our current fourth-floor exhibition, October’s concert theme, Wrestling the Angel, features the headline work: Samuel Barbers’ “Adagio for Strings” (arrangement of second movement of String Quartet) Op. 11.
Considered by many to be the most popular of all 20th-century orchestral works, “Adagio for Strings” is celebrated for its fragile simplicity and emotion. In November 1938, conductor Arturo Toscanini led the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the premiere performance of this work. The concert was broadcast from New York to a radio audience of millions across America as America itself was still recovering from the Depression and Hitler’s Germany was pushing the world towards war. Toscanini himself had only recently settled in America after fleeing fascist Italy. This classic is described as the musical embodiment of communal grief. It was played at the funerals of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Grace Kelly. Three days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy arranged for the National Symphony Orchestra to perform this work to an empty hall in his honor. A recording of the performance was released to radio and television stations that adopted it as an unofficial anthem of mourning during subsequent weeks.
Program: Works by Samuel Barber, Alexander Borodin and Alan Hovhaness.
Performance: Concerts are performed at 6 p.m. in the fourth-floor gallery. General seating available at 5:30 p.m. with a cash bar in the lobby.