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David Lang

mystery sonatas w/Augustin Hadelich

Cantaloupe Music

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1 joy
2 after joy
3 before sorrow
4 sorrow
5 after sorrow
6 before glory
7 glory
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Commissioned for Hadelich by Carnegie Hall, mystery sonatas premiered in April 2014 in Zankel Hall, where it was praised by The New York Times as a display of "magisterial poise and serene control." Lang, who held Carnegie Hall's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at the time, conceived the piece as a modern reinvention of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber's Mystery Sonatas. While von Biber's Sonatas expressed his inward thoughts on Christian theology and the Mystery of Christ, Lang's take is decidedly secular.

"I decided to make my own virtuosic pieces about my most intimate, most spiritual thoughts," Lang explains, "[but] mine are not about Jesus, and the violin is not retuned between movements. I did keep one of Biber's distinctions. He divides Jesus's life into three phases-the joyous, the sorrowful, and the glorious. The central pieces of my mystery sonatas are called ‘joy,' ‘sorrow,' and ‘glory,' but these are all quiet, internal, reflective states of being."

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