This newly expanded choral arrangement of David Lang’s love fail, performed by the renowned Lorelei Ensemble and conducted by Beth Willer, adds haunting texture and power, as well as a more fully rounded sound, to Lang’s austere original. Praised for their “impeccable musicality and pure-voiced precision” by the Boston Globe after the 2016 premiere of this version for women’s chorus, Lorelei brings that same unmatched skill to the recording. From the hypnotic layers of the opening “he was and she was” to the almost devoutly meditative mood of “Head, Heart,” there’s an immediate sense of having captured an entirely new way of experiencing one of Lang’s most soulful and mysterious works.
Lang composed love fail in 2012, and conceived of the work as a rumination on the timelessness of love, weaving together details from the story of Tristan and Isolde with more modern sources — specifically, the stories of contemporary author Lydia Davis. “These stories are oddly similar to the Tristan stories,” Lang writes in his liner notes to the recording. “They are also about love, honor and respect between two people, but they are much more recognizable to us.”