David Lang: I Want to Live
In classical music, it is quite unusual for composers to collaborate, but it wasn't like that among Flemish Renaissance painters –– if the painter in the studio next door did better angels and you painted better flowers, it wasn't unusual for a collaboration to ensue. In my case, however, the requests for collaboration has often come from others, and Julia Wolfe, David Lang and I found ourselves embarking on our third collaborative piece in 2004, courtesy of the Cologne-based musikFabrik ensemble and the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival.
The two other Gordon/Lang/Wolfe collaborative works –– Lost Objects
and The Carbon Copy Building
–– are made up of numerous short musical movements. With Shelter
we wanted to stretch out a bit, and we conceived of the piece in seven longer movements. Once again we reunited with Deborah Artman, who had written the libretto for Lost Objects
. Like Lost Objects
is a staged oratorio, but with smaller forces: three sopranos and a large mixed ensemble. And we reunited also with Ridge Theater and their principal artists, director Bob McGrath, visual artist Laurie Olinder and filmmaker Bill Morrison, our collaborators on The Carbon Copy Building