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Doyle Armbrust
Time Out Chicago, December 2013

Best of 2013: Time Out Chicago’s top 10 classical and new-music albums of the year

Spare but seductive accompaniment from Bryce Dessner (guitar), Nico Muhly (piano) and Owen Pallett (violin) swirl around Shara Worden’s tempting vocals as the personification of Death. Droplets of guitar and piano are bathed in swaths of melancholy violin sustains, wrapping enchanting lines…like a collar of black lace. It may be advisable to keep this one off the “Party Mix” playlist, but Death Speaks is well worth multiple rotations. © Time Out Chicago

Anastasia Tsioulcas
National Public Radio, December 2013

NPR Classical’s 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013

Composer David Lang put together the extended meditation on mortality called Death Speaks with some very distinctive musicians in mind: vocalist Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), violinist Owen Pallett, pianist (and fellow composer) Nico Muhly and The National guitarist Bryce Dessner. The result is a haunting and momentous title work—by turns exquisitely delicate and ruthlessly unforgiving, both in texture and in emotional punch, and enlivened by the unusual textures Lang creates with this quartet of performers. The album pairing is the brilliant and luminous Depart, multi-tracked by cellist Maya Beiser, which offers welcome relief. © 2013 National Public Radio

Anastasia Tsioulcas
National Public Radio, June 2013

NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums Of The Year (So Far)

You probably wouldn’t expect The National’s Bryce Dessner and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden to work on a classically focused project inspired by Franz Schubert, but that’s exactly what happens within composer David Lang’s amazing Death Speaks, which also features Nico Muhly playing piano and Owen Pallett on violin. In this song cycle, Lang creates incredibly intimate, often terrifyingly visceral experiences, with texts borrowed from Schubert’s songs. Despite Lang’s ice-cool textures, emotions run hot and quick. “Nothing escapes me,” Worden sings, personifying Death—and it’s easy to believe her. The companion piece on this album, Depart, features Maya Beiser’s multi-tracked cello and four voices; it comes as luminous, sweet relief. © 2013 National Public Radio

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2013

The small instrumental chamber ensemble of electric guitar, violin and keyboard-piano…weaves a langorous web of post-modernist cyclic motifs while Shara Worden…sings a lovely set of poetic lyrics on Death personified and the goodbyes to life that have resonance with such early music composers as Giullame Dufay. It is hauntingly painful, lovely and dark.

…this is David Lang at his best. It is gloriously dark music…Lang is essential today, and this is a key work. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

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