The great Samuel Barber was born a hundred years ago today.
The piece for which he is best known, Adagio for Strings, remains our favorite orchestral work. The Adagio began as the second movement in his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11, which was written in 1936.
It’s likely you’ve heard the piece before (it’s been used in many movies, among them Platoon (1986) and The Elephant Man (1980)), but here’s a choral version of it for your consideration, performed by The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, under the direction of Richard Marlow.
And here’s a discussion of Barber’s life and career, originally broadcast on radio station WHYY, between Barber’s biographer Barbara Heyman and David Ludwig, acting head of musical studies and member of the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, a conservatory in Philadelphia, Penn.