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David Lang

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Cheating, Lying, Stealing (1993),
Publisher
Red Poppy
Category
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Mixed Ensemble
Year Composed
1993
Duration
11 Minutes
Programme Note
David Lang Cheating, Lying, Stealing (1993),
Related Work:
   Cheating, Lying, Stealing (wind ensemble version)

Composer Note:
A couple of years ago, I started thinking about how so often when classical composers write a piece of music, they are trying to tell you something that they are proud of and like about themselves. Here's this big gushing melody, see hew emotional I am. Or, here's this abstract hard-to-figure-out piece, see how complicated I am, see my really big brain. I am more noble, more sensitive, I am so happy. The composer really believes he or she is exemplary in this or that area. It's interesting, but it's not very humble. So I thought, What would it be like if composers based pieces on what they thought was wrong with them? Like, here's a piece that shows you how miserable I am. Or, here's a piece that shows you what a liar I am, what a cheater I am. I wanted to make a piece that was about something disreputable. It's a hard line to cross. You have to work against all your training. You are not taught to find the dirty seams in music. You are not taught to be low-down, clumsy, sly and underhanded. In Cheating, Lying, Stealing, although phrased in a comic way, I am trying to look at something dark. There is a swagger, but it is not trustworthy. In fact, the instruction in the score for how to play it says: Ominous funk.

— David Lang


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