Sunday’s Outlander episode reminded me of how much I love Samuel Barber’s music. It also completely yanked me out of the story, so that was unfortunate. But back to Samuel Barber. I never met a suspension I didn’t love—let alone open fourths and fifths—so his music always grips, moves, and transports me to that place only the arts can take you. So if you loved Adagio for Strings, listen to this and follow Agee’s text here (which he wrote in ninety minutes).
Knoxville: Summer of 1915Music by Samuel BarberText by James AgeeRecording:Renée Fleming, SopranoAspen Festival, Lawrence Foster, conductor, Aug. 21, 1993
Mackenzie Cooper has had it with romance. On her way home from another blind date arranged by her well-meaning sister, she is caught in a snowstorm. While maneuvering the twists and turns of the icy road, Mackenzie loses control of her car and crashes into the rocky hillside.
When a rugged Scotsman pulls her to safety, Mackenzie is sure she must be hallucinating. Through the storm’s fury, he takes her to shelter in one of the mysterious stone chambers scattered throughout Putnam County, New York. Snowbound, Mackenzie must wait out the storm with this strange, kilted man who claims to be a Highlander from eighteenth-century Scotland. By morning, she not only believes Ciarán MacRae’s story but has also lost her heart just in time for him to kiss her, promise his love—and then vanish.
Unable to forget him, Mackenzie returns again and again to the stone chamber, hoping to unlock the secret of Ciarán’s disappearance. But if she does, she will have to decide whether her fierce feelings for Ciarán are worth abandoning all that she knows to travel through time to find her gallant Scotsman.