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Sorry I missed you : (text message fails), for SATB chorus and SATB soloists

by David John Lang (2016)

Sorry I missed you


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Sorry I missed you : for SATB chorus and SATB soloists / David John Lang.

Library shelf no. 782.55542/LAN 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The key to a good relationship is communication. So it's amazing how much communication goes on via text messaging - not the most personal, nuanced or reliable of formats. It is, however, all too convenient. You can reach out to the person you love from anywhere, anytime, and for any reason. Dramas of love and loss play out silently on little gadgets we hold in our hands.

Scroll through the text message conversations of a 21st-century relationship. Most will be totally mundane ("I'll be there in five minutes"), and shorn of real-life context, many won't make much sense ("I am the batman"). Sometimes, due to dire necessity or lack of social skills, a text message will contain a momentous revelation ("I'm pregnant"). All the fumbling awkwardness of a relationship is there, captured perfectly in just a few ill-chosen, auto-corrected words.

The texts for this composition were compiled from anonymous posts on the internet. So ubiquitous are embarrassing text messages that whole websites are now devoted to collecting and sharing them. I could have written an opera!

The music was inspired by some of the most annoying sounds a phone can make: keypad tapping, phone signal interference and various message notification tones.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: SATB chorus with SATB soloists.

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: 1. fake number -- 2. blind date -- -3. where r u? -- 4. I am the batman -- 5. pregnant -- 6. breaking up -- 7. magic trick -- 8. hey you left your phone at my place.

Dedication note: "In loving memory of our friend Tim Marks"

Commission note: Commissioned by Adelaide Chamber Singers.

First performance: by Adelaide Chamber Singers, Christie Anderson at Adelaide Chamber Singers: Songs of Longing (Pilgrim Church) on 24 Sep 2016

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Technology, Mobile Phones, Contemporary Life, related work: "The Ringtone Cycle" by Graeme Koehne


Sorry I missed you (text message fails), by David Lang

Performances of this work

7 Oct 2023: at Adelaide Chamber Choir Festival - Program Four (Elder Hall).

24 Sep 2016: at Adelaide Chamber Singers: Songs of Longing (Pilgrim Church). Featuring Adelaide Chamber Singers, Christie Anderson.

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