Jahrgangsgeräusche Adventskalender 2014 – #13

“A couple of years ago, I started thinking about how so often when classical composers
write a piece of music, they are trying to tell you something that they’re proud of and like
about themselves: Here’s that big gushing melody, see how emotional I am. Or, here’s
this abstract, hard-to-figure-out piece, see my really big brain.
I am more noble, more sensitive, I am so happy. The composer really believes he or she is exemplary in this or that area. It’s interesting, but it’s not very humble. So I thought, what would it be like
if composers based pieces on what they thought was wrong with them? I wanted to make a piece that was about something disreputable.
It’s a hard line to cross. You have to work against all of your training. You are not taught to find the dirty seams in the music. You are not taught to be low down, clumsy, sly and underhanded. In Cheating. Lying. Stealing., although phrased in a comic way, I am trying to look at something dark. The
piece is a series of unreliable, imperfect repetitions. There is a swagger, but it’s not trustworthy. In fact, the instruction on the score for how to play it says: Ominous funk.”
— David Lang, composer, Cheating. Lying. Stealing.

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