Lang: Death Speaks

Lang: Death Speaks

Composer David Lang found the inspiration for Death Speaks by combing though the immense songbook of 19th century Austrian composer Franz Schubert with an eye for lyrics that personified death. Setting the fragments of Schubert’s text to his own music, Lang enlists a roster of artists from the disparate musical worlds of New York City (including My Brightest Diamond vocalist Shara Worden, composer/pianist Nico Muhly, and guitarist Bryce Dessner of The National) to craft a haunting song cycle that gorgeously bridges the gap between contemporary art-music and indie rock. With macabre elegance, Lang’s voice of death (chillingly intoned by Worden) is seductive and fragile, welcoming listeners to join her "in the cool, dark night” with arpeggiated strings, delicate electric guitar, and spectral arrangements. Likely to appeal to listeners far beyond the borders of contemporary classical music, this ambitious piece embodies a transcendent, inventive spirit that—like the subject at hand—defies easy classification.

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