David Lang on Selecting death speaks Musicians
The question then arose of what musicians should play and sing this new piece (death speaks). Art songs have been moving out of classical music in the last many years—indie rock seems to be the place where Schubert’s sensibilities now lie, a better match for direct storytelling and intimate emotionality.
I started thinking that many of the most interesting musicians in that scene made the same journey themselves, beginning as classical musicians and drifting over to indie rock when they bumped up against the limits of where classical music was most comfortable. What would it be like to put together an ensemble of successful indie composer-performers and invite them back into classical music, the world from which they sprang?
Photos: Dessner by Rene Cervantes/MTV | Muhly by Samantha West | Pallett by Ryan Pfluger | Worden by Matt Wignall
I asked rock musicians Bryce Dessner, Owen Pallett, and Shara Worden to join me, and we added Nico Muhly, who, although not someone who left classical music, is certainly known and welcome in many musical environments. All of these musicians are composers who can write all the music they need themselves, so it is a tremendous honor for me to ask them to spend some of their musicality on my music.
Related: January 27, Making Music: David Lang