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Samuel Barber - A Desire for Hermitage and Solitary Hotel

Barber Is probably most famous for his Adagio for Strings for string orchestra. It was originally the slow movement from his string quartet, but he adapted it for a full string orchestra in 1938. Since that time it has been a staple in the orchestral concert repertoire, has found its way into movies, and most recently became America’s official memorial anthem after the 2001 attacks.

Yesterday I shared a song about being alone, which for many, is a gloomy experience. But there can be a cheerful side, too. Solitude can be very pleasant if we choose to see it differently. It can be a peaceful time to pray, to write in a journal, or a time to be creative! We hear about writers, composers, and artists seeking a place and time of solitude in order to create works, but what about us ordinary people?

By title, these two songs by Samuel Barber represent being alone. They are songs, so of course they have words. But I feel that taking away the lyrics and stripping the score down to just the music that Barber put on the page possibly expresses the titles of the songs even more than the original settings. Rather than the story the original lyrics might have told, just close your eyes and listen to what the music can inspire in YOUR story.

Desire for Hermitage:

Solitary Hotel:

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