David Lang’s Simple Song #3, written as part of the score for the film Youth by Paolo Sorrentino, has been nominated for a 2016 Oscar for Best Original Song.
Lang’s score for Youth represents the compositions written by the film’s protaganist (a classical composer and conductor toward the end of his career) and most importantly his Simple Song #3, an integral and recurring musical and cinematic theme. The music is performed by soprano Sumi Jo, violinist Viktoria Mullova, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Berlin Radio Choir. Additionally, Lang’s just (after song of songs) written for and performed by Trio Mediaeval and the Garth Knox Trio receives a prominent placement in the film.
Youth — written and directed by Sorrentino, whose film The Great Beauty won the 2013 Oscar for best foreign language film — stars Academy Award-winner Michael Caine as Fred and Academy Award-nominee Harvey Keitel as Mick. The film explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. While Fred has no plans to resume his musical career despite the urging of his daughter (played by Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz), Mick is intent on finishing a screenplay in what may be his last important film for his muse Brenda (Academy Award-winner Jane Fonda).
Lang and Sorrentino first worked together when the director used Lang’s music in The Great Beauty. A frequent collaborator in film, art, theater, and dance, Lang contributed all the arrangements for The Kronos Quartet for the landmark film Requiem for a Dream and scored the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Woodmans and the film (Untitled).