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David Lang

Publisher: G. Schirmer

concerto (world to come) (2003)
Red Poppy
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
24 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
David Lang concerto (world to come) (2003)
May 8, 2010
Maya Beiser, cello
MADE Festival
Norrlands Operans Symfoniorkester
Staffan Larson conductor
Umea, Sweden

Composer's Note:

A cellist and her voice become separated from each other, and they struggle to reunite in a post-apocalyptic spiritual environment. world to come is a kind of prayer—introspective and highly personal. It is a meditation on hope and hopelessness, asking fundamental questions about the death and life of the soul.

world to come was written for Maya Beiser and commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UC Santa Cruz Arts & Lectures, On the Boards, and Connecticut College, with support from Meet The Composer.

—David Lang

Related Works:
   concerto (world to come) — cello and orchestra
   world to come — cello and audio playback

  • 24 FEB 2014
    Southbank Centre, London, UK
    BBC Concert Orchestra
    Maya Beiser; Keith Lockhart, conductor
  • 30 NOV 2010
    concerto (world to come) Country Premiere
    Contemporary Music Center
    Kate Ellis
  • 08 MAY 2010
    concerto (world to come) World Premiere
    MADE Festival
    Umea, Sweden
    Norrlands Operans Symfoniorkester
    Maya Beiser, cello; Staffan Larson, conductor

It has its origins in a solo cello piece, World to Come, completed in 2003, though it was a work in progress at the time of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, which New York-based Lang witnessed when taking his children to school. The solo work became a meditation, rooted in Jewish spirituality, on the separation of the soul from the body and the anticipation of the afterlife. The orchestral version was completed in 2010. It's a haunting, extraordinarily profound work. Lang evokes Bach's Cello Suites in the arpeggiated figurations with which it opens. The cello's introduction of a slow-moving canon that passes through the orchestral strings initiates a process in which the unity of soloist and orchestra begins to dissolve. A third section draws us towards extremes of rhythmic and harmonic dislocation, though the Bach-like figurations return to usher in, briefly, a mood of calm resignation before there is a sudden lurch, mid-arpeggio, into silence.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian,26/02/2014
fine, lilting music — which evokes both fairy-tale-like adventuring and darker, more adult complexities
Claudia La Rocco, New York Times,29/06/2012
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