New CD of Orchestral Grace

David Lang produced one of the finest ambient albums of 2001 with The Passing Measures, released on Cantaloupe, a small record label founded recently by the New York area composers group called Bang on a Can. The record features an “amplified” orchestra, a women’s chorus and the deep-toned bass clarinet of Marty Ehrlich. This is near-silent music produced by a substantial battery of musicians, and all the richer for their considerable group restraint. For context, it’s worth keeping in mind that Lang was among the composers who produced instrumental transcriptions of Brian Eno’s landmark Music for Airports for a 1998 tribute album; he also arranged the strings on Clint Mansell’s expert electronic-fied chamber-music score for the film Requiem for a Dream, which featured the Kronos Quartet.

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