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 | elevator-design.dk
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