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“String of Pearls” by David Lang


“String of Pearls” by David Lang

Performed by Adam Sliwinski

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Robert van Sice Signature M115

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Medium hard. Bright, but not to the point of “xylophone-like” brilliance.


Robert van Sice Signature M116

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Hard. When extreme cutting power and a sharp edge are required.


string of pearls evolved out of a commission from a consortium of amazing percussionists, most of whom I have had the honor of working with closely over the years. I had the idea to make this piece out of a series of little bursts of energy, with tiny pauses in between, accumulating in power and density. After I finished the music I realized that the form of the piece resembled a string of pearls — short, exciting, shiny moments strung together in a continuous line.

When I started composing string of pearls I struggled for a while with the question of how to leave enough room for each of these players to make the piece his own. My solution was to give very little instruction on how to shape the performance. All the notes and rhythms are written down quite specifically but there are no dynamic markings, no accents, no crescendi, etc., and the players are instructed to shape each phrase ad lib. One performance may be all loud, or all quiet, or everything in between. It is my hope that by being vague with the performance instructions each of these incredible performers will find his own, unique version of the piece.

string of pearls is dedicated, in love and friendship, to Martin Bresnick, on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

— David Lang

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