eMusic Review 0
First, I feel it’s important to say that, as of this writing, David Lang is nowhere near death. I see him walking through the neighborhood from time to time and he is his usual cheery, deadpan self. And yet the Bang on A Can co-founder has produced an incandescent string of pieces in recent years focused exclusively on death and dying. His Pulitzer Prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion gravely watches a poor young girl freeze to death as passersby ignore her. His yet-to-be-recorded Love Fail takes an oblique look at the fatal love affair between Tristan and Isolde. His haunting, drifting Salle des Departs (recorded here under the title “Depart”) was written for a hospital morgue. And then there’s Death Speaks, a five-movement work which takes up most of this recording. Here, death is not an event, but a figure, like something out of an engraving by Albrecht Dürer. But unlike the American folk song “O Death,” in which Death is a scary, implacable foe — the singer asks, “oh Death, won’t you pass me over another year” — Lang has assembled a text in which Death is addressing us, with a message that is ultimately reassuring, and comforting.
The text… read more »