On 12th May 2022, choral ensemble The Tallis Scholars will perform the UK premiere of sun-centered by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang, one of America’s most-performed composers. The work was commissioned for The Tallis Scholars as a companion piece for Brumel’s monumental 12-voice Earthquake Mass written in the 16th century.This London performance comes immediately off the back of The Tallis Scholars performing Lang’s sun-centered for the very first time as part of a US tour.
Peter Philips, founder and director of The Tallis Scholars, comments: “The Tallis Scholars asked David Lang to write a set of short movements which would act as a foil to Brumel’s monumental ‘Earthquake Mass’. The idea was that Lang’s motets would interleave the five movements of the mass. Taking the ‘Earthquake’ as his starting point, Lang decided to develop the equally terrestrial thought of what Galileo saw through his telescope in the late 16th century: how the earth moves around the sun, and not, as the Catholic Church insisted, the other way round; and the trouble that this truth got him into. By quoting the words of Galileo himself, Plato, Francis Bacon, and Psalm 19, Lang explores our frailties as human beings, with the reality of the abyss – the ‘Earthquake’ – ever present if we get it wrong.”
Phillips adds, “Ever since hearing Lang’s ‘the little match girl passion’ I have been attracted to his unfussy, introverted style. This style is the perfect antidote to Brumel’s excited, teeming textures, as complex as Lang is direct.”
The Tallis Scholars have never previously performed at the London church St Martin-in-the-Fields, so this concert marks their debut at the venue as well as the UK premiere of David Lang’s sun-centered.
David Lang’s new work sun-centered was commissioned for The Tallis Scholars by Cal Performances, Carnegie Hall Corporation, Concertgebouw Bruges (Belgium), Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Stanford Live and Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech.