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mystery sonatas

by David Lang, Augustin Hadelich

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Michael Mueller
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Michael Mueller This is stunning.

Everything about it is superb: the composition, the playing, the recording. To hear the violin played with a glass-cutting purity, and to hear the melodies unfurl one not at a time is a sublime experience. This is immaculately crafted music, with a power and control that belies it monophonic delicacy.

Easily my top modern classical release of 2018 Favorite track: joy.
Christopher Wright
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Christopher Wright A spare, gorgeous cycle of pieces.. listen to those overtones and background sounds... an absolute delight
bær thumbnail
bær i love this album. it's such an audacious choice to make such a sparse, monophonic album an age of dense production and infinite layering potential. for david lang, simple is bae Favorite track: after sorrow.
Murphy Adams
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Murphy Adams These gorgeous violin pieces are as striking as they are meditative. David Lang has mastered the art of stark, expressive simplicity.
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    Master cut by Mike Grinser at Dubplates & Mastering
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of the little match girl passion, shade, The Village Detective: a song cycle, love fail, when I am alone, the loser, anatomy theater, mystery sonatas, and 15 more. , and , .

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joy 05:09
after joy 05:28
sorrow 08:52
after sorrow 04:41
before glory 04:03
glory 08:19


Back in April 2014 at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Augustin Hadelich’s performance of David Lang’s "mystery sonatas" was praised by the New York Times as a riveting display of “magisterial poise and serene control.” That same magic penetrates this starkly beautiful recording of the work, played by Hadelich on the exquisite 1723 “ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivari, on loan to him by its current owners since 2011.

Lang based his "mystery sonatas" on the famous pieces by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, but with a modern twist. “I decided to make my own virtuosic pieces about my most intimate, most spiritual thoughts,” he explains, “[but] mine are not about Jesus, and the violin is not retuned between movements. I did keep one of Biber’s distinctions. He divides Jesus’s life into three phases—the joyous, the sorrowful, and the glorious. The central pieces of my mystery sonatas are called ‘joy,’ ‘sorrow,’ and ‘glory,’ but these are all quiet, internal, reflective states of being.”


released October 19, 2018

mystery sonatas was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the violinist Augustin Hadelich.

mystery sonatas was premiered on 29 April 2014 by Augustin Hadelich, in Zankel Hall, as part of the series I curated called ‘collected stories,’ and in conjunction with my year as the holder of Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair.

mystery sonatas was recorded 26-28 May 2016 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. Lawson White, engineer, Alessandra Roubini, assisting.

this recording of mystery sonatas was produced by Lawson White.

‘glory’– the final movement – is dedicated to the memory of my friend Paul Bloodgood.

I want to thank Augustin Hadelich for his commitment and musicality, and Carnegie Hall for letting me write this piece.

I would also like to thank Jeremy Geffen, Kathy Schuman, Clive Gillinson, and everyone at Carnegie Hall, Amanda Ameer, James Egelhofer, Becky Fradkin, Lawson White, Alessandra Roubini, Charles Harbutt, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Suxiao Yang, Kenny Savelson, Denise Burt, Philippa Thompson, Tim Thomas, Mike McCurdy, Sruly Lazaros, Brian Petuch, Bill Murphy, Adam Cuthbert, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and Suzanne Bocanegra.

David Lang’s music is published by Red Poppy, Ltd. and administered worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP).

Executive Producers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Kenny Savelson and Julia Wolfe
Label Manager: Bill Murphy
Cantaloupe sales manager: Adam Cuthbert
Art direction: Denise Burt |
Cover photograph: ‘Nude boy in rocky landscape, silhouette’ (1905), Day, F. Holland, courtesy of The Louise Imogen Guiney Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division | Other artwork: Digital collages by Denise Burt


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David Lang New York, New York

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