Orpheus Over & Under
The final two works of the night show us where else Minimalism can go. David Lang (b. 1957), one of the three founding composers of New York-based Bang on a Can, is a generation after Riley, Reich, Glass, and other Minimalists. Lang's music is informed by rock as well as modernism, and contains elements of conceptualism. He and the other Bang on a Can members took Louis Andriessen's music as a model to move beyond. Orpheus Over and Under (1989) is a piece about the experience of loss, dedicated to Lang's mother. It is in two sections, an Aria and subsequent Chorale. Its Minimalism is not pulse-driven; instead, its architectural structure is Minimal. The entire piece is a layering of repeated notes between two pianos. Stunning and poignant, the piece's emotional intensity moves slowly, while rapid tremolos carry the performers through both movements.
- Jessie Rothwell is the Publications Coordinator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also writes music, plays the oboe, and sings Bulgarian folk music.