Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, performed by Capella Istropolitana, is featured on CD 3 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
This iconic masterpiece by West Chester, Pa. native Samuel Barber began its existence in 1936 as the slow movement of his only String Quartet. Barber immediately recognized the expressive possibilities of his music and rearranged the movement for string orchestra later that same year. A continuous ebb and flow of sustained-note cadences that only gradually resolve produces an effect of a great heaving or sighing.
The deep sadness the music evokes has led to the work’s performance as an anthem of mourning for heads of state and during national tragedies. It has also been used to great effect in many film soundtracks.