Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings Set to Point in “Prayer”

Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" has been set to point many times; "Prayer" is the latest adaptation.(Photo: Megyarsh)
Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" has been set to point many times; "Prayer" is the latest adaptation.(Photo: Megyarsh)

Its stammering melody, at once harmonious and heartrending, wafted over a bereft nation’s air waves upon the death of President Roosevelt. It again embraced a grieving America at the funeral of President Kennedy. It has lodged in the minds of millions as a soundtrack for the slaughter of innocents and the death of innocence in the film Platoon.

Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings – no stranger to Classical 101′s airwaves – is now, both the inspiration and accompaniment for a new ballet titled, Prayer.

Ballet North artistic director Laura Reinschmidt presented the world premiere of her ballet at the Truman Forum of the Plaza Library as part of the Kansas City Interfaith Council’s Winter Lights program on February 24, 2011.

According to the press release, Reinschmidt’s ballet “examines the delicate interplay between all peoples of faith.” A great leveler, this particular adagio creates a collective space for contemplation and mourning as well as unites people of all races, classes and walks of life within that space.

Reinschmidt’s Prayer is not the first ballet performance set to Barber’s Adagio for Strings, just the latest contribution in a tradition of appropriating Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Yelena Yevteeva and Eldar Aliev dance to Adagio for Strings choreographer by Oleg Vinogradov with the Mariinky Orchestra.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgzakS6QvHo

Here’s the Nevada Dance Theatre performing La Barre (“The Bar”) choreographed by Veseljko Sulic.

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