Explained using the 5-4-3-2-1 Method
Duration: 7–9 Minutes
Genre: Part of a Trio Sonata (allegedly…)
Time of Creation: Unknown (…allegedly…)
World Premiere: Unknown (…allegedly! 😊)
Table of Contents
Albinoni's Adagio in 5 Sentences
Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio must be one of the most curious compositions in “classical music”: Italian musicologist Remo Giazotti reconstructed and published the piece in 1958 on the basis of fragments whose origin, date of composition, and authorship remain unclear to this day. Immediately after its publication, something happened that probably no one had expected: the piece became incredibly famous and popular, and today it is one of the most popular works of “classical music” ever. The fact that it is in all probability not even remotely a work by the baroque composer Tomaso Albinoni was and is of no concern to the public – but the “reconstructor” Remo Giazotti profited from the commercial exploitation of the work from the very beginning.
Note: This work belongs to the Classical Music Top 100.
4 Highlights from Albinoni's Adagio
Highlight 1: Introduction and first part
Giazotti reconstructed the work for strings and organ. It consists of three parts. The first part is characterized by a melancholy melody performed by the high strings after the short introduction…,
Highlight 2: Middle section
…whereupon a solo violin unfolds freely in the middle section:
Highlight 3: Repetition of the first part (plus solo violin)
Then the first part (including the introduction) is repeated. The solo violin joins in with several short interjections:
Highlight 4: Passionate conclusion
Finally, the entire ensemble comes in once more at the conclusion:
3 Questions and Answers about Albinoni's Adagio
Question 1: Who really wrote "Adagio in G minor"?
It is stylistically almost impossible that the Adagio in G minor can be traced back to Tomaso Albinoni. Other “classical” composers are also unlikely. There are striking similarities in the melody with individual passages from works by Mozart, Farrenc and Beethoven, but the simplest answer (which, however, has not been proven beyond doubt to this day) is also the most probable: the Italian musicologist Remo Giazotti invented the piece freely from beginning to end.
Question 2: Who was Tomaso Albinoni?
Tomaso Albinoni was a composer and violinist who lived in Venice from 1671 to 1751.
Question 3: Who was Remo Giazotto?
Remo Giazotto (1910–1998) was an Italian musicologist, music critic and composer. He was especially noted for research on Tomaso Albinoni. However, the Adagio in G minor, which he claims to have composed from fragments of Albinoni, is most likely his own creation.
2 Recommended Recordings of Albinoni's Adagio
Recording 1: The Modena Chamber Orchestra
This is a recording with the “original” instrumentation of the reconstruction – strings and organ:
Recording 2: Stjepan Hauser, Pavao Mašić, Elisabeth Fuchs, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra
Given the fame of Albinoni’s Adagio, it is not surprising that there are countless arrangements for it. The piece is also often used in crossover projects – where classical music is combined with elements of other genres. An example of this is given here: It is an arrangement by Croatian cellist Stjepan Hauser, better known simply as HAUSER: