Marking an anniversary of sorts with its 20th concert, SOUND UP new music festival will honor David Lang, one of the most brilliant American composers of the postwar generation.
Before he became a part of the cultural establishment, David Lang began his career with a bold and somewhat ruffian initiative. In the 1980s, together with two other composers from the Yale School of Music – Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe – he established a musical commune Bang On a Can, whose aim was to compose music that would combine the complexity of structure with the energy and drive of pop music and to perform it in the environments that would be as far removed from the classical world as possible. The similar ideas were adopted by the older generation of American composers, the minimalists Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, which is why the “new rebels” were called “postminimalists.” Having kept their loyalty to the principles of laconic brevity of the means of expression, the postminimalists went further: in addition to using the language of classical music and traditional sound practices of different nations, David Lang and his creative soulmates carefully study everything that’s happening in the rock, funk, punk, hip hop and electronic music, insatiable for everything new. This is why David Lang has often partaken in joint projects with such rock-n-roll heroes as Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond and Bryce Dessner from the National.
David Lang’s music is tonal, harmonious, clearly structured, devoid of empty rhetoric and excessive cleverness, but also incredibly inventive. It might be the reason why the composer has achieved an almost universal acclaim: his music is performed by the most influential contemporary music ensembles, and he has been generously praised with professional awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music, a Grammy, and an Oscar nomination for his score to Paolo Sorrentino’s film Youth.
The New York-based composer’s portfolio is full of different genres, from operas and symphonies to chamber music, but he is especially drawn to vocal and choral music, which makes him one of contemporary era’s most outstanding artists composing music for the voice.
the little match girl passion is probably his most famous vocal piece, which in 2008 brought the composer the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music, putting him on par with the founders of American school of composition Aaron Copland and Charles Ives.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Christmas story the little match girl passion has often been chosen by composers for musical interpretation. Ever the admirer of paradox, David Lang saw this beautiful and tragic story as a paraphrase of life of Jesus Christ, and turned it into a chamber oratory, styled after Bach’s passions. Sublime, serene and full of delicate details, the music of the American composer provides a genius sound illustration for the soaring between the anguishes and hope that are experienced by the story’s little protagonist. The experience of listening to the little match girl passion is much like a religious revelation.
On November 9, the SOUND UP new music festival will present the special program DAVID LANG /ULTRA/, allowing the audience to fully acquaint itself with the oeuvre of our outstanding contemporary and to hear not just the little match girl passion, but also his other key works performed by the Intrada ensemble and New Music Studio ensemble.
Rochdelskaya street, 15/24