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Michael Gordon; David Lang; Julia Wolfe - Red Poppy

Publisher: G. Schirmer

lost objects (2001)
Text Writer
Deborah Artman
Red Poppy
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
1 Hour 2 Minutes
small SATB choir
Soprano, High Countertenor, Low Countertenor, 'DJ'*
Programme Note
Deborah Artman

Composer note:

In 1999, David Lang, Julia Wolfe and I were approached to write an oratorio together by a German-based consortium made up of the Dresden Festival, RIAS-Kammerchor and Concerto Koln. Something must have been in the air, because we hadn't yet finished The Carbon Copy Building, and here we were on our second collaborative project.

The principal musical force in the consortium was Concerto Koln, a baroque orchestra. When we met them in Cologne, we spent a considerable amount of time discussing the instruments they used, many of which had been salvaged from flea markets and junk stores. This led us to thinking about lost things in general, some which, like the instruments, are miraculously resurrected.

We asked Deborah Artman to write the libretto for us. We had met Deborah at the MacDowell Colony in the Winter of 1988. Actually, we met her sooner, because she called us up asking if she could get a ride to MacDowell from New York City, and we had all squeezed ourselves into a car along with many keyboards, word processors and books. Over the years, Deborah had been instrumental in helping us, as Bang on a Can, verbalize our message. She wrote the program notes to our first records on Sony Classical and many of our early concerts and marathons. Deborah was a fiction writer and poet, not a musicologist, and we naturally thought of asking her to join this project.

Preparing the libretto involved research and lots of it. Deborah presented us with a huge palette of "lost" objects, too many to include, so many interesting topics and ideas. Julia, David and I each picked the topics that interested us and worked with Deborah individually. Many of the subjects that were not used for the libretto in Lost Objects were eventually included as projection interludes in the live Francois Gerard production at BAM's Next Wave Festival in the Fall of 2005.

––Michael Gordon

  • Ensemble
    Concerto Köln / RIAS-Kammerchor / Bang on a Can Lost Objects Ensemble
    Claudia Barainsky / Andrew Watts / Daniel Taylor / DJ Spooky
    Roger Epple
  • 17 DEC 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Orchestra of the National Theatre Opera
    Czech National Choir; Petr Kofron, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24 January 2016 - Prague, Czech Republic
  • 01 MAY 2015
    Evanston, IL
    Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble
    Donald Nally, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24 May - Evanston, IL
  • 18 JUN 2009
    Great Guildhall, Riga, Latvia
    Sinfonietta Riga
    Kaspars Putnins, conductor
  • 21 JAN 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Canticorum Virtuosi
  • 23 MAY 2001
    lost objects World Premiere
    Dresden Music Festival
    Dresden, Germany
    Concerto Köln / RIAS-Kammerchor / Bang on a Can Lost Objects Ensemble
    Roger Epple, conductor

...a score that examines loss as an inevitable consequence of historical development and as an enduring subject of human fascination...It is a huge canvas, and the composers fill it with a rhythmically assertive post-Minimalist score, written for an orchestra of Baroque-period instruments, a rock band, a chorus and soloists, and a D.J., who creates live electronic mixes as interludes.
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times,01/01/0001
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