New York-based composer David Lang was associated with the ensemble Bang on a Can, and the pieces on this album share an orientation toward percussion as well as clear but unconventional use of tonal relationships. The highlight for many will be the first work on the program, Pierced, written in 2007. It's a concerto of sorts, with a trio of cello, piano, and percussion arrayed against a string group. There is no solo-tutti contrast; however, each group conducts its own monologue but subtly influences (or perhaps pierces -- the composer gives no explanation for the title) the other. The tonality of each piece tends to set its mood, and the rhythm slowly evolves over the course of the work. The energy level is consistently high, however, and despite a superficial similarity, the effect of Lang's music is far from that of the minimalist classics, even in the meditative pair of pieces that closes out the program. Cheating, Lying, Stealing (1993-1995) is witty rather than angry; the composer sets himself up as the deceptive figure. Lang fails to make the case for why Lou Reed's "Heroin" needed the new arrangement he provides here. But with comfortable, enthusiastic performances by a diverse group of East Coast players, this disc could provide a good starting point for buyers wanting to sample post-minimalist developments.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim