Adagio in G minor

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The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings and organ continuo, is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th-century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but actually composed by the 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto, purportedly based on the discovery of a manuscript fragment of Albinoni.

Provenance[edit]

Although the composition is often referred to as "Albinoni's Adagio", or "Adagio in G minor by Albinoni, arranged by Giazotto", the attribution is incorrect. The ascription to Albinoni rests upon Giazotto's purported discovery of a tiny manuscript fragment (consisting of a few opening measures of the melody line and basso continuo portion) from a slow second movement of an otherwise unknown Albinoni trio sonata.

According to Giazotto, he obtained the document shortly after the end of World War II from the Saxon State Library in Dresden, which − though its buildings were destroyed in the bombing raids of February and March 1945 by the British and American Air Forces − had evacuated and preserved most of its collection. Giazotto concluded that the manuscript fragment was a portion of a church sonata (sonata da chiesa, one of two standard forms of the trio sonata) in G minor composed by Albinoni, possibly as part of his Op. 4 set, around 1708.

In his account, Giazotto then constructed the balance of the complete single-movement work based on this fragmentary theme. He copyrighted it and published it in 1958, under a title which, translated into English, reads "Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, on Two Thematic Ideas and on a Figured Bass by Tomaso Albinoni".[1] Giazotto never produced the manuscript fragment, and no official record of its presence in the collection of the Saxon State Library has been found.[2]

The discovery by musicologist Muska Mangano, Giazotto's last assistant, of a modern but independent manuscript transcription of the figured bass portion and six fragmentary bars of the first violin, "bearing in the top right-hand corner a stamp stating unequivocally the Dresden provenance of the original from which it was taken", provides some support for Giazotto's account that a manuscript from Dresden was his source.[3] The scholarly consensus is that the Adagio is Giazotto's composition, whatever source may have inspired him.

The piece is most commonly orchestrated for string ensemble and organ, or string ensemble alone, but with its growing fame has been transcribed for other instruments. The Italian conductor Ino Savini (1904–1995) transcribed the Adagio for a large orchestra and conducted the piece himself in Ostrava in 1967 with the Janáček Philharmonic. The composition has also permeated popular culture, having been used as background music for such films as Gallipoli, in television programmes, and in advertisements.[4]

Uses in popular culture[edit]

Film[edit]

The Adagio was used:

Television[edit]

Popular music[edit]

The piece was used in pop music by : Adagio with Swedish lyrics sung by Swedish Jazz singer Monica Zetterlund on her album "Monica Monica"

Books[edit]

  • The Adagio plays a huge importance in Steven Galloway's "The Cellist of Sarajevo", where the cellist pledges to play it everyday for 22 days in honour of 22 civilians killed during the siege of Sarajevo.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Remo Giazotto, Adagio in sol minore per archi e organo, su due spunti tematici e su un basso numerato di Tomaso Albinoni (Milan: Ricordi, 1958).
  2. ^ Letter from the Saxon State Library (consultant Marina Lang), 24 September 1990, reproduced in facsimile by Wulf Dieter Lugert and Volker Schütz, "Adagio à la Albinoni", Praxis des Musikunterrichts 53 (February 1998), pp. 13–22, here p. 15.
  3. ^ Nicola Schneider, "La tradizione delle opere di Tomaso Albinoni a Dresda", tesi di laurea specialistica (Cremona: Facoltà di musicologia dell'Università degli studi di Pavia, 2007): 181–86. (See discussion, post by Schneid9, for translated excerpt.)
  4. ^ BBC Music Magazine, May 2009
  5. ^ полет над припятью, зона отчуждения – YouTube
  6. ^ Адажио Adagio – YouTube
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sWFfCUr4KY
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDujMODORqQ
  9. ^ Northern Lights – The Renaissance Fan Site
  10. ^ Discogs entry of "Befour" by "Brian Auger & the Trinity"
  11. ^ Muse – Adagio In G Minor + Resistance – Live Oxegen Festival 2010 – YouTube
  12. ^ VITAS 2011.10.04 柔板(合成) / Adagio_Beijing "Say You Love" – YouTube
  13. ^ Galloway, Steven (2009). The Cellist of Sarajevo. Toronto: Vintage Canada. p. 261.