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David Lang

Publisher: G. Schirmer

statement to the court (2010)
Text Writer
Eugene Debs
Publisher
Red Poppy
Category
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
2010
Duration
15 Minutes
Chorus
SATB
Orchestration
Programme Note
David Lang statement to the court (2010)
The Crossing Chronicles, Vol. 2: David Lang on writing his new choral work "Statement to the Court"



Watch The Crossing Chronicles, Vol. 1 on YouTube

Text:
Eugene Debs

Premiere:
June 27 2010
The Crossing
Donald Nally, conductor
Philadelphia, PA



Performances
Reviews
The words tumble around each other in a naturalistic state of impetuosity but still speak clearly, while the piece's musical evolution mirrors that of many social movements. The beginning has a few lone voices in the wilderness that gather motivic momentum - though fitfully - in a journey that's anything but smooth. My first encounter with the piece left me feeling a bit lost. Now, Statement to the Court emerges as a rich, distinctive piece by a composer who is creating one arresting work after another and shows no signs of peaking.
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer,23/10/2012
Eugene Debs was an American socialist, put on trial in 1918 for speaking out against America’s role in World War I, and David Lang has set the central elements of the speech Debs gave at his trial in a powerful and also very beautiful piece for choir and chamber orchestra. The 15 singers drawn from the Northern Sinfonia Chorus sang the piece with passion and commitment; all becoming socialists, they delivered Debs’ powerful words in defence of downtrodden workers. Much of the piece was in the form of a stark, fragmented chant, punctuated by massive rich chords, the work as a whole rising and falling, mimicking the speech patterns of great oratory. The accompaniment of driving strings and bass drum suggested the pounding of the mills and railroads described in the text, although sadly at times in the confines of Hall Two, the voices were overwhelmed by the instruments and the text was lost.
Jane Shuttleworth, Bachtrack,17/01/2012
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