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just (after song of songs) – composer's mix

by David Lang

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Originally premiered in Dublin in 2014 by the legendary Trio Mediaeval, David Lang’s just (after song of songs) rose to ubiquity as part of the soundtrack of Paolo Sorrentino’s masterpiece film Youth. Now, David Lang and Cantaloupe Music present a fresh recording, reworked by the composer and intimately sung by three of New York City’s top contemporary music vocalists. Warmer, darker, and more prolonged than the premiere recording, the “composer’s mix” captures the essence of Lang’s stylistic intent in a way only possible with a highly-inclusive production process.

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'just (after song of songs)' is a setting of a text I made by finding certain things in the Song of Songs. The original text is of course the most passionate and erotic of the ancient Jewish books, and it is always strange to encounter it in the Bible. In 2008 I wrote a choral piece called 'for love is strong', in which I made a similar text from the Song of Songs, trying to use the words to see through the relationship between the man and the woman in the story to the relationship between Man and God. According to Jewish tradition the Song of Songs is a metaphor for our passion for the Eternal, so the words themselves become very important.

One thing that has always interested me about the text is that the man and the woman in the Song of Songs have attributes, they notice things about each other, they own things, they have features that are desirable. In a love between people this would be no surprise. In a love between Man and God, however, that might mean that in this text are clues to the nature of God’s own attributes, and a record of how they might attract us.

For my text I listed everything personal or owned that is attributed to the man and to the woman. To clarify who is speaking I started every phrase of his with ‘just your’ and every phrase of hers with ‘and my.’ It is interesting that in a text about a love that is shared there are only seven instances of ‘our.’

lyrics

just your mouth
just your love
just your anointing oils
just your name
just your chambers
just your love

and my mother’s sons
and my own vineyard
and my soul

just your flock
just your companions
just your kids
just your cheeks
just your neck
just your couch

and my perfume
and my beloved
and my breasts
and my beloved
and my love

just your eyes

and my beloved

our couch
our house
our rafters

and my love
and my beloved

just your shadow
just your fruit
just your banner over me
just your left hand
just your right hand

and my beloved
and my beloved

our wall

and my beloved
and my love
and my fair one
and my love
and my fair one
and my dove

just your face
just your voice
just your voice
just your face

our vineyards

and my beloved

just your flock

and my beloved
and my bed
and my soul
and my soul
and my soul
and my soul
any my mother’s house

just your sword
just your mother
just your wedding
just your heart

and my love

just your eyes
just your veil
just your hair

just your teeth
just your lips
just your mouth
just your cheeks
just your veil
just your neck
just your two breasts

and my love
and my bride
and my heart
and my sister
and my bride
and my heart

just your eyes
just your necklace
just your love

and my sister
and my bride

just your love
just your oils
just your lips

and my bride

just your tongue
just your garments

and my sister
and my bride

just your shoots

and my garden
and by beloved
and my garden
and my sister
and my bride

and my myrrh
and my spice
and my honeycomb
and my honey
and my wine
and my milk
and my heart
and my beloved
and my sister
and my love
and my dove
and my perfect one
and my head
and my locks
and my garment
and my feet
and my beloved
and my hand
and my heart
and my beloved
and my hands
and my fingers
and my beloved
and my beloved
and my soul
and my beloved

just your beloved
just your beloved

and my beloved

just your head
just your locks
just your eyes
just your cheeks
just your lips
just your arms
just your body
just you legs
just your appearance
just your speech

and my beloved
and my friend

just your beloved

and my beloved
just your garden
just your flock

and my beloved
and my beloved

just your flock
and my love

just your eyes
just your hair
just your teeth
just your cheeks

and my dove
and my perfect one
and my mother
and my fancy
and my prince

just your feet
just your rounded thighs
just your navel
just your belly
just your two breasts
just your neck
just your eyes
just your nose
just your head
just your flowing locks
just your breasts
just your breasts
just your breath
just your kisses

and my beloved

just your desire

and my beloved
and my love

our doors

and my beloved
and my mother’s breast
and my mother
and my pomegranates

just your left hand
just your right hand

and my beloved

just your mother
just your heart
just your arm

our sister
and my breasts
just your eyes

and my vineyard
and my very own
and my self

just your voice
and my beloved

credits

released November 13, 2017
Mellissa Hughes, Jamie Jordan, Kirsten Sollek - voice
Nadia Sirota - viola
Gabriel Cabezas - cello
Chris Thompson - percussion

produced by Nadia Sirota
engineered by Jonathan Low

just (after song of songs) is dedicated to my friends Amy Podmore and Frank Jackson.

just (after song of songs) was written for the combined forces of Trio Mediaeval and Saltarello, and was commissioned by Eamonn Quinn for Louth Contemporary Music Society, funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion.

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