Sorry I missed you (text message fails)
*movements featured in the video
Love in an auto-corrected age
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. See if you can pick them.
I hope that you enjoy these text messages far more than their original recipients did!
© David John Lang 2016
Sorry I missed you (text message fails) was commissioned by the Adelaide Chamber Singers for the 2016 Subscription Season. It is dedicated in loving memory of our friend Tim Marks.
This work was first performed by the Adelaide Chamber Singers, conducted by Christie Anderson, on 24 & 25 September 2016. I’d like to thank Christie for her imaginative input into the creation and realisation of this piece, and Carl Crossin (artistic director of ACS) for setting up the commission in the first place.
This music is available to