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cindy mctee

for string orchestra

11.5 minutes

score & audio examples

for string orchestra
entire work  
  bars 140-150
  bars 159-167

commercial recording as part of Symphony No. 1


for information, perusal materials, sales, or rental, please visit

program notes

Adapted from my Agnus Dei for organ in the wake of events following the horror of September 11, 2001, the Adagio became the second movement of my Symphony No. 1: Ballet for Orchestra. It was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra - music director, Leonard Slatkin - and made possible by the John and June Hechinger Fund for New Orchestra Works.

The Adagio gradually exposes a hauntingly beautiful melody from Krzysztof Penderecki's Polish Requiem (Ab, G, F, C, Db, Eb, Db, C). A falling half-step and subsequent whole-step emphasize the interval of the minor third. With occasional references to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, the work's harmonic language reflects my interest in using both atonal and tonal materials within the same piece of music.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.
---- Alfred Lord Tennyson, Maud, and Other Poems


For reviews of Cindy McTee's
featuring four orchestral works (including Adagio as part of Symphony No.1) performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
under Leonard Slatkin, click here.


This is a beautiful work of very intense emotion . . .

Robin McNeil
Opus Colorado


Dr. McTee, who teaches at the University of North Texas, has produced a number of impressive compositions, and her Adagio . . . performed Friday night, does nothing to spoil her record. In fact, it would make a decent substitute for Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings as a solemn commemorative piece. The work is a transcription of a movement of Dr. McTee's Symphony No. 1, which was premiered by the National Symphony. . . . although often highly chromatic [the Adagio] does not seem in the least abrasive. It's an impressive work.

Olin Chism
The Dallas Morning News


There is much to engage the ear . . .

Tim Smith
The Baltimore Sun


a throaty elegy . . .

Steve Smith
The Washington Post


lush string writing . . .

Allan Kozinn
The New York Times