Adagietto for String Quartet

“The long and the short of it” sums up the background of a work I first penned in ink for solo piano at the beginning of spring on April 23, 1966 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. It began with a slow tempo marked Adagio on my manuscript, but that sounded too sad to my ears and to my way of thinking. I purposefully changed it to Adagietto, a ‘lighter’ and less plodding way of marking the passage of time I had in mind. I completed the piece, but left the score to gather dust as there was still something missing – something intangible that I couldn’t quite lay my finger on.

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Fast forward six years: It was midwinter in Eastern India, and on February 20, 1972 I felt the need to retrieve that nagging bundle of notes and update it. This time I introduced a cadenza in the nature of a recitativo after the animated, resolute, martial second subject.  Also, I had become quite involved with the Calcutta Symphony Orchestra, and I was happy when I was approached by its Concertmaster to recast the Adagietto as a string quartet for members of his orchestra. I got down to work and it was performed in its present form on February 2, 1974.

I moved with my family to the United States in 1975 to take up my new job as Assistant Manager of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, New York. Ten years later, via Miami, Florida as General Manager of the Florida Philharmonic, I am happily ensconced with Lolita in Englewood, New Jersey,  where I am a congregant at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

And so it was, that on Sunday, February 18, 2018, Adagietto was performed at that Church – as programmed by its Director of Music, Mark Trautman, and as part of its Music at St. Paul’s Series – by members of the Verismo Opera Orchestra, New Jersey. Their dress rehearsal of the work was recorded that day and uploaded to YouTube. You are welcome to listen to their beautiful performance right here with –

Catherine Yang (violin), Benjamin Hellman (violin), Tina Chang-Chien (viola),
and James Mark Pedersen (cello):

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Copyright © 2018 Azim Lewis Mayadas

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