Fueled by inspired performances from Mammoth Trio (pianist Lisa Moore, cellist Ashley Bathgate and violinist Elly Toyoda) and the NYC-based Contemporaneous ensemble (conducted by David Bloom), David Lang's shade is one of his most poignant and dynamic collaborations — a writ-minimal recording with a wide-open emotional arc that can transport us into spaces that are by turns mournful, meditative and uplifting.
'shade' and its companion piece 'wed' clock in together at a little more than 23 minutes, but the listening experience is rich with the gradual ebb-and-flow sensations of an orchestral concert, or more directly, one of Lang's signature song cycles. The title piece moves through several distinct moods, with the middle section allowing the piano trio to step forward into a shimmering light while the string orchestra, as the composer intended, undulates behind them in shadow.
The much shorter 'wed' is a triumph of string arrangement, with conductor David Bloom leading Contemporaneous through a slow-building wave of alternately consonant and dissonant textures, reflecting the tragic and beautiful events that inspired Lang to write the piece.
shade (2016) for piano trio and strings
wed (1995, arranged for string orchestra 2013)
Elly Toyoda - violin
Ashley Bathgate - cello
Lisa Moore - piano
Violins - Kate Dreyfuss, Josh Henderson, Lauren Cauley, Maya Bennardo, Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris, Anna Luce, Adriana Mateo, Audrey Hayes, Yumi Oshima, Sabrina Tabby, Finn Shanahan, Sarah Goldfeather, Melissa Tong, Gregory Tompkins, Daniel Constant, Gabe Smith, Ally Jenkins
Violas - Sarah Haines, Hannah Levinson, Isabel Hagen, Brianne Lugo, Greg Luce, Harry Inglis
Cellos - Amanda Gookin, JY Lee, Helen Newby, Gabriel Cabezas, Meaghan Burke, Iva Casian-Lakos
Basses - Pat Swoboda, Tristan Kasten-Krause, Eleonore Oppenheim, Greg Chudzik
Conductor - David Bloom
Mammoth Trio recorded by Nick Lloyd at Firehouse 12, New Haven CT, July 2021
Strings recorded by Nick Lloyd and Isaiah Abolin at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York NY, July 2021
Edited and mixed by Nick Lloyd at Firehouse 12, New Haven CT, October 2021