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Lang - Cheating, Lying, Stealing

Composer's Name: David Lang 

Title of Piece: Cheating, Lying, Stealing 

Number of Percussion Players: 3 

Total Number of Players: 6 

Instrumentation: bass clarinet, piano, percussion (marimba, snare, kick drum, 2 toms, anvil), 2 antiphonal brake drummers (w/ triangles), violoncello 

Approximate length: 10 min. 

 

Program 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 how 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 on the score for how to play it says: Ominous funk.”

- David Lang  

Annotated by Matt Sharrock

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