Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Sunday evening benediction - updated

This is what my world looked like a little after noon today. We have had sprinkles and thunder.

I would like to tell y'all about the first time I heard Tomaso Albinoni's Adagio in sol minore per archi e organo.

It was on my semester abroad in France in autumn 1967. I was living with a family in Montpellier, home of one of Europe's oldest universities, where Rabelais had studied. One day we went to the movies and instead of a cartoon preceding the feature they showed a clip of Albinoni's Adagio with time-lapse black-and-white photography of clouds over the Pyrenees. Just those majestic vistas and that painfully delicious music. It reached right down into my guts.

To this day it is difficult for me to hear it and not get weepy. (Yes, I am related to the sister of whom our niece said "Oh, Aunt Iva, you weep at Wal-mart openings.")

You may listen to the original tune here, accompanied by some very powerful non-verbal graphic animation (think "origami puppets"). Embedding is disabled, so just click the link.

And, now with some Italian lyrics added to it, the Adagio performed by Il Divo at the coliseum in Pula. The words did not matter. The music still makes me weep.

Göran pointed out that Albinoni is not really the composer of this work. Here is what Wikipedia notes
The Albinoni Adagio in G minor is a 1958 composition entirely composed by Remo Giazotto, which Giazotto claimed to have based on fragments from a slow movement of an Albinoni trio sonata he had been sent by the Dresden State Library.

[Footnote: ^ >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 15.]

--the BB


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The famous Adagio by Tommaso Albinoni isn't by him. It's based on a base; a ground and the work is made by one Remo Giazotti in the 1940ies. But it's really beauful in a sentimental way.

IMO Albinoni's own music is beautiful but not Great, that is, one cannot listen to it an infinite number of times, as with for instance Archangelo Corelli.

Paul said...

Thank you, Göran. I saw a note about Giazotti after posting this. Yes, totally sentimental, and it gets me every time.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Dear Friend spent *his* year abroad in Montpelier in 1969-70. Too bad you two didn't have a chance to compare notes at the wedding!

That means you have to come back! :-)


Paul said...

I trust that our paths will cross again and DF and I can compare our memories. Wow, a whole year! I was there in October and November, then December in Paris. I was in France again in the summer of 1969, in Paris and Roubaix, but it was a fly-by-night tour. I will add DF as a friend on FB tonight so we can yak about le Midi.