David John Lang, Song Without Words

This year, I acted as contest coordinator for the Reveille Trumpet Collective‘s first ever Composition Prize. All of us were immediately drawn to the eventual winner, Song Without Words by David John Lang, 21, of Adelaide, Australia. This piece was chosen from over twenty entries to receive the grand prize.

The grand prize included production of a video to promote his piece (seen below), at least three performances by members of Reveille during 2011-12, publication of the new work through qPress.ca (you can purchase the sheet music here), and a $1000CAD cash prize.

Song Without Words is a haunting work characterized both by its lyrical flugelhorn melodies and its sparse, ethereal piano writing.  In Lang’s own words, “The main idea is the idea of loneliness… The flugelhorn is trying to ‘come home’ to the piano, but it doesn’t quite get there.” The piece was premiered this summer by Adam Zinatelli, and I was very excited to program it for my final DMA recital in September.

Introductory video featuring the composer, produced by Timothy Quinlan: