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Composed by David Lang, the day was commissioned in 2016 by cellist Maya Beiser as a “prequel” to world to come (2003), which Lang also wrote for Beiser in response to the tragic events of 9/11. Both pieces are meditations on life, but from very different perspectives.
“'the day' looks at ways we review our lives,” Lang explains, “exploring remembered moments as a chronicle of a life.” Lang sourced the text from the internet by searching for the phrase “I remember the day that I...,” and then cut and compiled lyrics based on his findings. The spoken word accompaniment by actor Kate Valk lends an emotional charge to Beiser’s poignant cello lines, which gradually build in multi-tracked layers to emulate a small string ensemble.
In 'world to come', Beiser echoes the cello with her own voice, with the separation between the two growing more pronounced as the piece progresses. It’s a metaphor for the separation of the soul from the body at the moment of death, and their struggle to reunite in a peaceful, post-apocalyptic spiritual world.
released January 26, 2018
Produced by Maya Beiser & David Lang
Maya’s cello tracks recorded at Avatar Studios, NYC
Engineer: Jody Elff
Maya’s vocal tracks recorded at Area 52 Studios, Saugerties NY
Engineer: David Cook
Kate’s speaking track recorded at Randy Ezratty’s home studio
Engineer: Jody Elff
Edited and Mixed by David Cook at Area 52 Studios
Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk, Peekskill NY
the day was commissioned for Maya Beiser by the University of Iowa/Hancher Auditorium, and is dedicated to Maya Beiser. the day premiered at SFJAZZ in San Francisco, California, on August 17, 2016.
world to come was commissioned for Maya Beiser by Commissioning Music/USA, The Carnegie Hall Corporation, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UC Santa Cruz Arts & Lectures, On the Boards and Connecticut College. world to come premiered at Zankel Hall, New York City, on October 30, 2003.
I don't need every Kronos performance to be one that shakes me to my essence, but I do always want them to be interesting. Kronos has been my gateway to discovering a lot of composers I never knew of before, so this one is worth checking out. Richard Weems