Donate now to support your one-stop classical music destination

Your contribution powers the wonder of classical music
Donate

Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Tuesday, November 3

How to Pray

Synopsis

At Carnegie Hall on today’s date in 2002, the American Composers Orchestra presented new works inspired by the Hebrew Psalms. The program included the premiere of a new work by the American composer David Lang entitled “How to Pray.”

In his program note, Lang wrote: “[The] Psalms are so central to religious experience [because] they are a comprehensive catalogue of how to talk to the Almighty... Of course, it's like reading one side of a correspondence... I am not a religious person. I don't know how to pray. I do, however, know some of the times and places and formulas that are supposed to help make prayer possible. Sometimes I find myself sending those messages out. And then I wait, secretly hoping that I will recognize the response.”

The minimalist-style, patterned repetition in Lang’s “How to Pray,” reminded some listeners of a “mandala”—those intricate graphic patterns intended to be an aid to meditation for Hindu or Buddhist believers.

Stravinsky fans with sharp ears might also recognize the running piano line from the beginning of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, which Lang borrows and weaves into the pattern of “How to Pray” as both a tribute and inspiration.

Music Played in Today's Program

David Lang (b. 1957) How to Pray Real Quiet ensemble; Gil Rose, cond. Naxos 8.559615

Additional Information

{"airdates":[{"id":26875,"date":"2020-11-03","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2020/11/03/datebook_20201103_128.mp3","updated_at":"2020-10-05T18:42:03.000Z","episode":{"id":9196,"synopsis":"How to Pray","additional":"","body":"At Carnegie Hall on today’s date in 2002, the American Composers Orchestra presented new works inspired by the Hebrew Psalms. The program included the premiere of a new work by the American composer David Lang entitled “How to Pray.”\r\n\r\nIn his program note, Lang wrote: “[The] Psalms are so central to religious experience [because] they are a comprehensive catalogue of how to talk to the Almighty... Of course, it's like reading one side of a correspondence... I am not a religious person. I don't know how to pray. I do, however, know some of the times and places and formulas that are supposed to help make prayer possible. Sometimes I find myself sending those messages out. And then I wait, secretly hoping that I will recognize the response.”\r\n\r\nThe minimalist-style, patterned repetition in Lang’s “How to Pray,” reminded some listeners of a “mandala”—those intricate graphic patterns intended to be an aid to meditation for Hindu or Buddhist believers.\r\n\r\nStravinsky fans with sharp ears might also recognize the running piano line from the beginning of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, which Lang borrows and weaves into the pattern of “How to Pray” as both a tribute and inspiration.","playdate":"1972-11-03","pieces":[{"composer":"David Lang (b. 1957)","title":"How to Pray","performer":"Real Quiet ensemble; Gil Rose, cond.","catalog":"Naxos 8.559615"}],"links":[{"title":"On David Lang","href":"http://davidlangmusic.com/"}],"airdates":[{"id":22692,"date":"2014-11-03","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2014/11/03/datebook_20141103_128.mp3"},{"id":24537,"date":"2017-11-03","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2017/11/03/datebook_20171103_128.mp3"},{"id":26875,"date":"2020-11-03","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2020/11/03/datebook_20201103_128.mp3"}]}}],"meta":{"start_date":"2020-11-03","end_date":"2020-11-03"}}

Before you go...

Each day, John gladly shares his passion for music with you. The knowledge that he offers, and the stories he shares through Composers Datebook is made possible with your support. Please, take 2 minutes and make a gift today for your 2 minutes of daily music knowledge.