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Lang: The Loser / Leighton, Tao, Bang on a Can

Release Date: 02/07/2020 
Label:  Cantaloupe   Catalog #: 21155  
Composer:  David Lang
Performer:  Conrad Tao
Conductor:  Lesley Leighton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bang On A Can Opera Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

An opera in one act for solo baritone voice, solo piano and ensemble, David Lang's 'the loser' has been lauded by the New York Times as a "boldly unconventional" work, and that's almost putting it mildly. 'the loser' is based on the Thomas Bernhard novel of the same name, in which an anonymous narrator and once-promising concert pianist retells the story of his friend's suicide. As it turns out, both were students in the same master class, taught by Vladimir Horowitz, as a young Glenn Gould. Playing in the shadow of Gould brings both to the realization that true greatness will never be theirs, wrecking both their lives forever. As David Lang tells it, "The story is not at all about Gould, Horowitz, or classical music. On one Read more level, the novel is an intense tour-de-force of character development, as the narrator tells you more about himself and his world. In its own strangely beautiful way, however, it's also about perfectionism, hard work, how we justify our lives to ourselves, and how we learn to appreciate beauty and become alienated from it at the same time." Featuring Rod Gilfry (baritone), Conrad Tao (piano) and the Bang on a Can Opera Ensemble conducted by Lesley Leighton, 'the loser' premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016 and made its west coast premiere at the LA Opera in early 2019. Tracked in New York and Los Angeles, the studio recording recaptures what the LA Times described as "a mesmerizingly virtuosic performance by Rod Gilfry, destined for the annals of opera." Read less

Works on This Recording

The Loser by David Lang
Performer:  Conrad Tao (Piano)
Conductor:  Lesley Leighton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bang On A Can Opera Ensemble
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2016; United States 
For Glenn Gould by David Lang
Performer:  Conrad Tao (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: United States 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A thought-provoking, & entertaining, post-modern  February 26, 2020 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "Thomas Bernhard's The Loser is one of my favourite novels; it's the oddest combination of extremely challenging post-modernist structure and real readability. The fact that one of the three characters in Bernhard's story is (a highly fictionalized) Glenn Gould is a real feature for both the novel and the opera. There's also a streak of wry humour which runs through Bernhard's novel, and remarkably it survives in Lang's libretto, and in the outstanding performance of baritone Rod Gilfry. Everything from despair to hilarity is heard in Gilfry's voice (and seen on his face in the very good video clips from Red Poppy Music available on the web). Gilfry's very special vocal performance is ably supported by pianist Conrad Tao, who plays Lang's clever obbligato piano part, which comments on the action throughout; and by the Bang on a Can Ensemble (viola, cello, bass and percussion) led by Lesley Leighton. This is highly recommended for fans of David Lang, whose Pulitzer Prize winning Little Match Girl Passion is a highlight of 21st century opera, as well as for everyone who adores the quirky prose of Thomas Bernhard." Report Abuse
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