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Beethoven straddled the Classical and Romantic periods in musical history. Born in Bonn in 1770, he moved to Vienna in 1791 where, under the tutilage of Joseph Haydn, he gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist.
It was at this time that his hearing started to deteriorate and he was almost totally deaf by the last decade of his life. However, these years proved to be, musically, the most profoundly influential of his life.
Piano Sonata No 14 in C# minor - "Moonlight" (1:46)
Probably the prominent 20th century American composer, he was twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music - the opera “Vanessa" and the "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”.
The Adagio for Strings was originally the second movement of String Quartet, Op 11. Barber sent an orchestrated version to Arturo Toscanini in January 1938 which he retuned to Barber without comment, something Barber took as a rejection. Toscanini later aid that this because he had already memorised the work. It received its premier in November 1938 under Toscanini.
It is also Barber’s setting for the choral arrangement of his Agnus Dei and is amongst the most emotionally charged 8 minutes of music ever written.
Adagio for Strings (2:12)
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