NEW MUSIC TUESDAY | Composer Nicholas McRoberts' New "Adagio for Strings"

The new symphonic piece was premiered with the Janaček Philharmonic and conducted by the composer in Ostrava, Czech Republic

Nicholas McRoberts, composer


The Violin Channel recently discussed the piece with Australian and Paris-based composer Nicholas McRoberts.

"The last two years have been strange difficult times for the world," Nicholas told The Violin Channel. "Fear, suffering, sacrifice, and a strange kind of suspended animation… like time has stopped.

"I have always been a great admirer of Barber’s extraordinary Adagio for Strings. I wanted to write a piece that would evoke the sadness and loss of the times we are living through now. But I also wanted to write something restrained and heartfelt, in the classical tradition — to try to find that frontier where suffering can be beautiful and moving and even transcendental.

"I was asked by Friederike Kienle and the Nürtinger Chamber Orchestra to write a new piece for the 11th of November, Armistice Day 2021. She asked me to write something that could be performed alongside Tchaikovsky’s Serenade, a daunting task. I wanted to write a piece that evoked the anonymous bravery of the hundreds of thousands of people who died to make Europe what it is today. Somehow through all the darkness of the 20th century, people have always been able to hang onto hope.

"I always want people to feel something intensely personal — my favorite music is not 'about' something but more an abstract expression that strikes a chord in me. People have told me the adagio is sad, suspended in time, consoling, melancholy, dramatic. All of these impressions work for me. In the end, I hope it is moving."