death speaks (2012) 26'

Text by David Lang

soprano, vln, egtr, pno - all amplified

Carnegie Hall Corporation and Stanford Lively Arts

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‘death speaks’ premiere sells out Carnegie Hall!

In October 2007 Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices premiered David Lang’s the little match girl passion at Carnegie Hall. People in the audience that night knew they had heard something special. But this special? Only a few months later the piece won the Pulitzer Prize, then the recording on Harmonia Mundi won a Grammy, and the piece has gone on to become a hit around the world.

Carnegie Hall and Stanford Lively Arts bring back Theatre of Voices and the little match girl passion, along with the premiere of a major new work they have commissioned just for the occasion…

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death speaks on NPR’s “First Listen”

Although we all eventually face death, it’s a topic most avoid — except perhaps for philosophers, who explain it to our heads, and artists, who present it to our hearts.

Composer David Lang offers something for both head and heart — and goes one step further in his new song cycle, Death Speaks. Here, death is less a lofty concept than a personality.

“It isn’t a state of being or a place or a metaphor, but a person, a character in a drama who can tell us in our own language what to expect in the World to Come,” Lang wrote for the Carnegie Hall debut of the piece last year…

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‘death speaks’ CD released

“Art songs have been moving out of classical music in the last many years,” writes composer David Lang. “Indie rock seems to be the place where Schubert’s sensibilities now lie, a better match for direct story telling and intimate emotionality.”

Lang’s death speaks, along with his work depart, is released on Cantaloupe music on April 30.

Click to purchase the recording

In death speaks — co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Stanford Lively Arts, and written for Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Owen Pallett and Shara Worden — Lang explores art song with the help of a group of classically trained artists who made their careers in the indie rock world…

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NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums Of The Year (So Far)

NPR Music announced their 25 Favorite Albums of the Year (so far)… and David Lang’s ‘death speaks’ is on their list!

Here’s what they have to say about it:

You probably wouldn’t expect The National‘s Bryce Dessner and My Brightest Diamond‘s Shara Worden to work on a classically focused project inspired by Franz Schubert, but that’s exactly what happens within composer David Lang‘s amazing Death Speaks, which also features Nico Muhly playing piano and Owen Pallett on violin…

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“With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.”

— The New Yorker

Passionate, prolific, and complicated, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms…

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