WATER (2009)

Water is the tears of a lover, an unquenchable thirst, a fight for survival, a prayer for rain. History meets religion in a comprehensive composition for voices and instruments delving into the mystical essence of life, a meditation on the poetry of water. … The rain is falling. Brothers fight over a well. Tears flow. A human skull is found in the river. A man is thirsting. A man is flowing. A river splits into four and flows into the sea.
(Introduction to the work by David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon).

It's about water. The most important natural resource in the world is the pivotal point in the comprehensive composition WATER, written by the three American Bang on a Can composers David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon as a comment on the global challenges in relation to the natural resources of planet Earth. The texts for the music are derived from e.g. Goethe, Byron and the Bible.

WATER is the result of a collaboration between the Ars Nova Choir and the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Copenhagen. The idea is to expand the classic concert format in order to create a total sense experience. In words, images and movements WATER creates a total experience that surrounds and fills the senses of the audience.

In 1987 the three American composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe established Bang on a Can which is dedicated to commission, perform, create, present and record new music. With an open ear for the new, the unknown and the unconventional, Bang on a Can strives to promote exciting and innovative music as widely as possible across the whole world. 


Libretto: Selected texts from Goethe, Byron, the Bible etc.
Composers: Michael Gordon, David Land & Julia Wolfe
Direction/Set design: Jacob F. Schokking
Conductor: Paul Hillier

Choir: Ars Nova
Ensemble: Athelas Sinfonietta
Light: Peter Plesner
System technique/VJ Programming: Turpin Napoleon Djurhuus
Video: Jakob Thorbek
Producer: Traudi Palsbøll

WATER is commissioned by Ars Nova, Copenhagen and Athelas Sinfonietta, Copenhagen within the framework of The Danish Arts Council's DaNy Arts project. WATER was the first part of the Danish-American project DaNY Arts. The second part comprised a marathon concert with Athelas and Ars Nova at Ground Zero in New York, May 31st 2009.