When we play some of the most beautiful Adagios, we feel as if we are speaking directly with the stars, note by note, bar by bar.
Perhaps that’s why so many people love Adagios? You have a little time to follow the melody note by note, as if “word by word”, as if speaking, and really feel the line of the music.
You can see if that is true by listening to our nominations for the most beautiful Adagios, including 1 that is sung, 1 for the cello, 3 for the piano, and 1 for the guitar.
Our first nomination is Barber’s spiritual, beautiful and ever-popular Adagio for strings, adapted by the composer himself for the choir and here sung by Rotterdam Symphony Chorus & Laurenscantorij, recorded live.
Our second nomination is the evocative Adagio from Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue (BWV 564) played here by the legendary Jacqueline Du Pré.
Our third nomination is the Adagio (2nd movement) from Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto no 2 here played with Rachmaninoff ease and poise by Rubinstein (a version from 1956!).
We profess our love for 4 other most beautiful Adagios:
The Adagio from Beethoven’s piano sonata no 8 “Pathétique”, here played by the always-Beethovenian Barenboim.
The Adagio from the guitar concerto Concierto de Aranjuez by one of the most famous 20th century Spanish composers, Joaquin Rodrigo; the history behind the piece is wonderful too, being composed in Paris in 1939, just as the Spanish Civil War had ended and the WWII was starting.
And last but not least, an Adagio we are currently obsessed with and will be playing at our forthcoming “Lost in the stars … that are aligned” concert, the Adagio from Bach’s BWV 974 that was composed on the oboe concerto by Venetian contemporary composer A Marcello and here performed by Anne Queffélec in incomparable form.