Fridays in Lent: Adagio in G Minor, attributed to Albinoni

Arlene Mahigian was like my choir mom, taking my robe home to wash it every summer, though I never asked her to,

AlbinoniI remember quite well the first time I heard Adagio in G Minor, presumably by “the 18th century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but in fact composed almost entirely by the 20th century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto.”

I was a member of the choir of my former church, and we were preparing to sing the Mozart Requiem in March of 1985. A beloved member of our choir, our soprano soloist, Arlene Mahigian, had been struggling with cancer. She was like my choir mom, taking my robe home to wash it every summer, though I never asked her to, and the like. She was clearly not going to be able to sing the Mozart. But she did make the performance, in a wheelchair.

The opening number was the Adagio, performed by her husband Leo, who was, for a time, concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, on violin, and their son, Peter, on organ. Arlene died about three weeks later, and I saw her in the hospital a day or two before she passed, when she squeezed my hand to let me know she knew I was there.

Here’s Adagio in G Minor, which made me cry then and it still does, especially at about the seven-minute mark.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Fridays in Lent: Adagio in G Minor, attributed to Albinoni”

  1. Really beautiful. When I hear something like that, I really wish I knew more about classical music.

    Choir is like a family. Hugs for your loss of Arlene. There’s an older woman in my choir named Betty – 94 years young and awesome – who I adore. I panic every time I hear she’s sick, even if it’s trivial.

  2. I stumbled upon your post and it took my breath away. You see, in 1985, I was 6 years old. Peter is my Uncle. Arlene and Leo were my grandparents. Imagine my surprise to see their names in print so many years later. Thank you for your beautiful post.

  3. I am Peter’s wife. I sang the solos in the Requiem for Arlene. I remember what a glorious concert that was. I believe it gave Arlene a chance to lose herself in the beautiful music and transcend her illness for a brief time. I am so thankful for that. The “Adagio” is one of my favorites.

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