Lang: The National Anthems / Los Angeles Master Chorale, Calder String Quartet

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“We group ourselves into nations,” David Lang writes in the program note, “but it has never really been clear to me what that means, or what we get out of it.” In 2014, he wrote The National Anthems, the featured work on Cantaloupe’s new release. The piece uses one line from each national anthem of the United Nations’ 193 countries.

Attempting to find a universal truth in the process of researching the anthems, he instead came to realize they resembled prayers for fleeting freedom rather than confidence in it. By the work's end, what remains sounds like it could be heard inside a church.

Also on the album is his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Little Match Girl Passion. After hearing from nations of people, the piece places similar prayers in the context of one person.

All together, the album has the feeling of clutching hands. Whether you believe in patriotism or not, it reminds us that everyone in the world holds onto something — whether it’s words, a melody or that which we hope is true.

– WQXR-FM (Elena Saavedra Buckley)

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CA21119

  • UPC: 713746311926

  • Label: Cantaloupe

  • Composer: David Lang

  • Conductor: Grant Gershon

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Calder String Quartet, Los Angeles Master Chorale