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David Lang

Publisher: G. Schirmer

just (after song of songs) (2014)
Text Writer
the composer
Red Poppy
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
15 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
2S, A
Programme Note
David Lang just (after song of songs) (2014)
Composer note:
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."

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.

The duration is about 15 minutes.

— David Lang

  • Ensemble
    Trio MediƦval
    Louth Contemporary Music Society:
  • Ensemble
    BBC Concert Orchestra
    Sumi Jo & Terry Davies
    Milan Records:
  • 08 FEB 2020
    The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts / Vancouver, BC / Canada
    UBC University Singers
    Kristin Wicklund; Graeme Langager, conductor
  • 01 MAR 2020
    Haverford College / Haverford, PA / USA
    Lorelei Ensemble
    Beth Willer, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11 October 2019 - Gordon College / Wenham, MA / USA
    12 October 2019 - First Church Cambridge / Cambridge, MA / USA
    17 October 2019 - Williston Northampton School / Northampton, MA / USA
    18 October 2019 - Cornell University / Ithaca, NY / USA
    7 November 2019 - Bethel College, Memorial Hall / Hesston, KS / USA
    9 November 2019 - Sheridan College / Sheridan, WY / USA
    10 November 2019 - University of Northern Colorado / Greely, CO / USA

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