Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Side Effects Of A Little Learning

I know very little about the fine arts. I guess it wasn't a big deal for college admissions in 1992, ergo my high school didn't bother us with them.

Over the last couple of years I have taken it upon myself to broaden my horizons and learn a little about classical music. (Will Durant is the one who piqued my interest.)

Lo and behold I discovered that Adagio for Strings WAS NOT a score composed for Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning movie Platoon.

It was in fact composed in 1936 by Samuel Barber, fifty years before the movie. From Wikipedia link above:

Barber's "Adagio for Strings" originated as the second movement in his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11, composed in 1936. In the original it follows a violently contrasting first movement, and is succeeded by a brief reprise of this music.

In January 1938 Barber sent the piece to Arturo Toscanini. The conductor returned the score without comment, and Barber was annoyed and avoided the conductor. Subsequently Toscanini sent word through a friend that he was planning to perform the piece and had returned it simply because he had already memorized it.[1] It was reported that Toscanini did not look at the music again until the day before the premiere. [2] The work was given its first performance in a radio broadcast by Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on November 5, 1938 in New York.

I'll bet you that many children (Taylor?) assume "Adagio for Strings" was actually composed for Seinfeld!

1 comment:

TAYLOR said...

I actually used Adagio for Strings in a class film project I made junior year of highschool called "They Were Expendable." It was like an action drama centered around a team of CIA spec ops sent to Afghanistan to find and kill Bin Laden following September 11th. The film explored themes of patriotism, loyalty to government, questioning authority, "following orders" (just doing my job-syndrome), moral relativism and pragmatism, as well as betrayal and sacrifice.

Adagio for Strings was used in the final climactic action sequence in which most of the team of CIA agents are ambushed and killed by a group of local gunmen.