Bang on a Can

Lost Objects

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Here's a fun and unusual pairing: the celebrated period-instrument ensemble Concerto Koln (who normally performs music of the Baroque period on instruments constructed according to the specifications of that time) and the very hip, very downtown, and equally celebrated Bang on a Can crew (who normally presents new music in hip downtown concert spaces). Add to the mix DJ Spooky, several vocal soloists, and the RIAS-Kammerchor, and you have a really interesting ensemble. The work they unite to present here is, technically, an oratorio; it consists of music composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, and a libretto by Deborah Artman, and it deals, unsurprisingly, with the idea of lost objects: What does it mean for something to be lost? What is the nature of the social situation into which one enters upon encountering a lost object? And what does the Talmud have to say about all this? These are questions that could form the basis of a great essay, one that might be published in Harper's, though they are perhaps not the most fruitful topic for an oratorio. As one might expect, the music is post-minimalist, dry, and ultimately pretty boring. The remix interludes provided by DJ Spooky provide a little refreshment, though as the world's most postmodern DJ he's careful not to let them get too frivolous.

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