David Lang, Ensemble Signal, Suzanne Bocanegra
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Bang on A Can co-founder David Lang brings his pensive evening-length piece, darker, to EMPAC.
Scored for 12 strings, darker is a slow exploration of sound. At times, it gives the ensemble the feel of a giant pipe organ or, with the aid of visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra’s live projections, the feel of splattering rain on an immoveable wall. As much a hypnotic sonic and visual object as it is a piece of music, darker weaves its intricate solo lines into a delicate and subtly emotional fabric.
Lang notes that “darker is in many ways more like an object than a piece of music. It is a long, slow passing from something mostly even and pleasant to something a little less pleasant. My piece, like life, expends a lot of effort to go a very short distance, from beautiful to a little less beautiful, from a little light to something a little darker.”
New York-based Ensemble Signal has been described by The New York Times as “one of the most vital groups of its kind.” Since its debut in 2008, the ensemble has performed over 150 concerts, has given the New York, world, or US premieres of over 20 works, and co-produced nine recordings.
This performance will feature live-manipulated projections created by New York-based visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra.
The point is to be expressive, but not too expressive, to find a middle way. But that middle way is oddly intense. You may fade in and out of attentiveness to the music. [In Lang's darker] there is nothing you really need to follow, just as you may, while examining a Calder mobile from many angles, momentarily look away. You know that when you come back to it, it will still be there and it will be the same mobile even as it's moved.
—Mark Swed, LA Times