Frag (1984) by David Lang
for flute, oboe, and cello

"frag" is an abbreviation for fragmentation bomb, though the music is more subversive than revolutionary. Written in 1984, the work attempts to completely demystify itself, laying bare all its technique for any listener to comprehend. The music consists of a single melodic line, presented in a sort of mutating unison by the trio of flute, oboe, and cello (the latter in very high register pizzicato). Only near the end does a simple counterpoint emerge between a pointillistic flute and a slow singing line in the other two instruments, as though a new sort of music is beginning to evolve out of the primal monophony that preceded it.

— D. L.    

[from Broken Consort, recording of Frag
by Cygnus Ensemble, CRI CD 834.]