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David Lang

Publisher: G. Schirmer

for love is strong (2008)
Text Writer
David Lang (after The Song of Songs)
Red Poppy
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
11 Minutes
SATB chor
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Programme Note
David Lang for love is strong (2008)
28 October 2008
Ars Nova Copenhagen
Stavnsholt Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark

Composer note
for love is strong (after the song of songs) is a setting of a text I made by finding certain things in the Song of Songs.

The original text is of course the most passionate and erotic of the ancient Jewish books, and it is always strange to encounter it in the Bible. What is such carnality doing in such a holy place? How can this possibly be a spiritual text? Although it describes the relationship of a man and a woman, the Jewish tradition says that it uses the relationship between lovers as a metaphor for one’s relationship to God. The entire book is not only a metaphor, but it is made of metaphors. What is your love like? Like wine. What is your name like? Like oil pouring forth. How black am I? Like the tents of Kedar. Everything in the book begins with a comparison, leading you to the things you cannot see or feel or know by comparing them to those things you can. For my text I took every comparison in the original – every metaphor, every simile – and listed them, beginning with the word ‘like.’ The title comes from one of the last of these comparisons – ‘’for love is strong as death,’’ which seems altogether too terrifying to be only about relationships between people.

for love is strong was written for the recording of the little match girl passion.

— David Lang

Sample Pages

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  • Ensemble
    Theatre of Voices and Ars Nova Copenhagen
    Paul Hillier
    Harmonia Mundi:
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