I don’t know about you, but when I think of the composer Samuel Barber, I think of his Adagio for Strings. Famously used on all sorts of occasions and instantly recognisable, no more so than in Oliver Stone’s film Platoon (1986).
This is the piece I expected to be listening to on my iPhone when I saw Barber next on my listening list. But no! Much to my surprise, I had instead Barber’s violin concerto op 14. Fascinating. I had no idea what it would be like, so settled down with interest.
Oh my word. It is beautiful. Breathtaking. 22 minutes of wonder and musical picture-making. It feels like a film score. I imagine the sort of film where young english characters in the 1920s travel to the far east to undertake some form of challenge. We see sweeping scenery, as they sail on ancient boats through magnificent, dramatic landscapes. We are drawn in with the emotion of their travails. And we feel exhausted yet elated by the inevitably bitter-sweet conclusion.
Perhaps I will write the screenplay one day. You heard it here first. Copyright LeapingTracks!