Lang: Death Speaks
Label: Cantaloupe Music
Pulitzer winner Lang returns with quite a supporting cast on this cycle. Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) sings the role of Death throughout, while violinist Owen Pallett, guitarist Bryce Dessner (of The National), and fellow composer Nico Muhly on piano take on the spare instrumental parts. As with much Lang, the long, quiet passages (as on the opening track) retain a spark of something restless within. The obverse tends to be true, also: When something forceful hits -- see the drum-and-guitar driven "I Hear You" -- you can still catch a tragic, wintry grace glinting off the music.