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Adagio in G minor

The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings, and organ continuo is a neo-Baroque composition commonly attributed to the 18th-century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but actually composed by 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto, purportedly based on the discovery of a manuscript fragment by Albinoni. There is a continuing scholarly debate about whether the alleged fragment was real, or a musical hoax perpetrated by Giazotto, but there is no doubt about Giazotto's authorship of the remainder of the work.[1]


The composition is often referred to as "Albinoni's Adagio" or "Adagio in G minor by Albinoni, arranged by Giazotto".[1] The ascription to Albinoni rests upon Giazotto's purported discovery of a manuscript fragment (consisting of a few opening measures of the melody line and basso continuo portion) from a slow second movement of an otherwise unknown Albinoni trio sonata.

According to Giazotto, he obtained the document shortly after the end of World War II from the Saxon State Library in Dresden which had preserved most of its collection, though its buildings were destroyed in the bombing raids of February and March 1945 by the British and American Air Forces. Giazotto concluded that the manuscript fragment was a portion of a church sonata (sonata da chiesa, one of two standard forms of the trio sonata) in G minor composed by Albinoni, possibly as part of his Op. 4 set, around 1708.[1]

In his account, Giazotto then constructed the balance of the complete single-movement work based on this fragmentary theme. He copyrighted it and published it in 1958 under a title which, translated into English, reads "Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, on Two Thematic Ideas and on a Figured Bass by Tomaso Albinoni".[2] Giazotto never produced the manuscript fragment, and no official record has been found of its presence in the collection of the Saxon State Library.[3]

The piece is most commonly orchestrated for string ensemble and organ, or string ensemble alone, but with its growing fame has been transcribed for other instruments. Italian conductor Ino Savini (1904–1995) transcribed the Adagio for a large orchestra and conducted the piece himself in Ostrava in 1967 with the Janáček Philharmonic. The composition has also permeated popular culture, having been used as background music for many films, in television programmes, and in advertisements (see below).[4]

Uses in popular cultureEdit


The Adagio was used:


Popular musicEdit

The piece was used in pop music by:

  • Swedish Jazz singer Monica Zetterlund on her album "Monica Monica".
  • Liesbeth List, in "De Kinderen van de Zee" (1966).
  • A vocal version, with lyrics by Gordon Grey, was recorded by The Castells (not the US group of the same name) on a Masquerade 7" single in 1967.
  • The Doors, in 1970 documentary Feast of Friends and on the album An American Prayer (1978) and as a 40th anniversary bonus track on the album Waiting for the Sun (1968)
  • Richard Clayderman, in "Sentimental Medley" on the album "La musique de l'amour" (1980, re-released 2009)
  • Renaissance, as "Cold is Being", with lyrics by Betty Thatcher, on the album Turn of the Cards (1974). The piece is credited to guitarist and primary composer Michael Dunford (despite not writing any of the music) and Thatcher, with no mention of Giazotto; however, the back notes thank Albinoni for the song. Also recorded by frontwoman Annie Haslam as "Save Us All" on her second solo album Still Life (1985)[7]
  • Procol Harum recorded Adagio Di Albinoni in 1976 and released it as a single in France, backed with The Blue Danube. (Chrysalis Records CHA 141) Later in 2005, both songs were included on "Procol's Ninth" CD as bonus tracks. (Friday Music 8-2942110222-9)
  • Brian Auger and the Trinity, in "Adagio per archi e organo" on the album Befour (1970)[8]
  • Louise Tucker recorded a version with lyrics called "Graveyard Angel" that appeared on her 1983 album, Midnight Blue.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen, in Icarus Dream Suite Op. 4 (1984)
  • Sigue Sigue Sputnik, in "Albinoni Vs. Star Wars, Pts. 1 & 2" on their second album Dress for Excess (1988).
  • Sarah Brightman has a vocal version, "Anytime, Anywhere" on the album Eden (1998) This was then covered by Liriel Domiciano in 2001 and Will Martin in 2007.
  • In 1999, Lara Fabian recorded a crossover in both English and Italian, named "Adagio" (later covered by Il Divo and Majida El Roumi).
  • In 2003, UK Trance trio Above & Beyond, under their Rollerball alias, produced a trance rendition of Adagio In G with additional opera voices and released it as "Albinoni" on their Anjunabeats record label.
  • In 2004, Tiësto produced his own rendition of this composition and released it as "Athena" on the album Parade of the Athletes.
  • Shlomo Artzi recorded a version with Hebrew lyrics called: את הלכת [= You had gone] in his album "את ואני" [= You and me] (1975)
  • Dominic Miller, in his album Shapes (2004)
  • Sentenced used it as opener for their last concert at show at Club Teatria, Oulu, Finland, on 1 October 2005.
  • Sissel Kyrkjebø, in her album "Into Paradise" (2006)
  • Anathema used it as opener for their A Moment in Time DVD in 2006.
  • Il Divo recorded their version of "Adagio" in Italian featured in their 2008 album The Promise
  • Muse used it as an intro to their song "Resistance" in some dates of their The Resistance Tour.[9]


The Adagio plays a role in Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo, in which the cellist pledges to play it every day for 22 days in honour of 22 civilians killed during the siege of Sarajevo.[10]

Other mediaEdit

A version that begins with a few of the opening notes of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, then shifts to a rendition of the Adagio, features prominently in the musical score of the computer game Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven.

Adagio in G Minor was also used by Carolina Crown's 2015 production "Inferno".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Dekel, Jon. "Is Albinoni's Adagio the biggest fraud in music history?". CBC Music. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  2. ^ Remo Giazotto, Adagio in sol minore per archi e organo, su due spunti tematici e su un basso numerato di Tomaso Albinoni (Milan: Ricordi, 1958).
  3. ^ Letter from the Saxon State Library (consultant Marina Lang), 24 September 1990, reproduced in facsimile by Wulf Dieter Lugert and Volker Schütz, "Adagio à la Albinoni", Praxis des Musikunterrichts 53 (February 1998), pp. 13–22, here p. 15.
  4. ^ BBC Music Magazine, May 2009
  5. ^ Anatoliy Rentgenovich (25 April 2011). "Полет над Припятью. Зона Отчуждения" – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Domrachev Nikita (29 November 2006). "Адажио Adagio" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Northern Lights – The Renaissance Fan Site".
  8. ^ "Brian Auger & The Trinity – Befour". Discogs.
  9. ^ strockholm421 (18 March 2011). "Muse – Adagio In G Minor+Resistance Live Oxegen Festival 2010 (HQ)" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Galloway, Steven (2009). The Cellist of Sarajevo. Toronto: Vintage Canada. p. 261.