We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.
~~ Irving Townsend
The anniversary of the 2007 pet food recall is a particularly bittersweet time of remembrance for the thousands who lost their companions to contaminated food, corporate greed and inept oversight. The pet food industry is a sham, dressing up the shabby left-overs from human consumption as nourishment for animals. Its regulation is a gutless farce. Compound this with the cost-cutting efforts of income funds masquerading as pet food purveyors, and the unregulated corruption that allows plastic to pretend to be protein, and you have a recipe for disaster. Our pets were, sadly, the canaries in this coal mine.
At the end of a long, dark year, as the healing sun begins to melt away the ice from our hearts, here is some music from heaven for the small, much loved victims of the recall and those who love them. It is Samuel Barber’s hauntingly beautiful Adagio for Strings. This music is truly touched by God.
Adagio for Strings is a work for string orchestra, and it is Barber’s most popular piece. It originated as the second movement in his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11, composed in 1936.
The recording of the 1938 world premiere, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.
The piece was played at the funerals of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and JFK. It was also performed in 2001 at a ceremony at the World Trade Center to commemorate the thousands lost there in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The composer also arranged the piece in 1967 for eight-part choir, as a setting of the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”).
The YouTube video features a stunning rendition by the BBC Orchestra, accompanied by images from 9/11.
Images: Pebbles the Yorkie, and from the Flickr Photo Gallery: Yeti (malamute) and Ashleigh (cat)