Nico Muhly is one of today’s most important composers.
This article is copyright protected, so just a few notes.
By VIVIEN SCHWEITZER
Published: November 4, 2011
“Mr. Muhly, 30, whose high-profile commissions include a work for the Metropolitan Opera, said that as a gay man he is particularly interested in the government’s role in personal relationships. He explores a longstanding fascination with polygamy in his chamber opera “Dark Sisters,” a story of a polygamist family in a Mormon offshoot whose children are removed by state officials concerned about child abuse.”
See the full article here.
Monday, October 10, 2011
“Nico Muhly has already managed to build not one, but around three or four careers for himself as a composer. With his work on movie scores and indie-rock albums, he has one toe inching towards pop-culture recognition, while keeping one foot firmly in the classical mainstream with a substantial body of pieces composed for the likes of the New York Philharmonic and the English National Opera. And then there are his pet projects, the pieces he and a circle of close friends—folksinger Sam Amidon, singer/keyboardist Thomas Bartlett, electronic artists Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson, and violist Nadia Sirota—create together in Valgeir’s studio and on tour. But closest to Muhly’s heart is the repertoire of sacred choral music he’s created, drawing on his experiences as a boy chorister to write for music for performance in both churches and concert halls.”
Listen to Nico Muhly introduce his works.”
See the full post and listen to some of the pieces here.
Celebrating gay and lesbian composers
“Usually, we remember where we were when national tragedy hits. However, I’m willing to bet that we’ll someday be telling our grandchildren where we were on the night of Friday, June 24, when the New York State legislature approved a gay marriage bill—becoming the sixth state of the union to legalize same-sex marriage.
I got the call when we were leaving the celebratory and life-affirming The Cunning Little Vixen at the New York Philharmonic. Friends in the audience for The Normal Heart heard the news announced from the stage and one friend discovered the passing when he went to take his dog out for an evening walk in the West Village. The amount of love passing around the city and Internet ether was flooring.
We’re continuing the love this week with a celebration of gay and lesbian composers. We kick off with the jubilant Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein, who, in Alex Ross’s words, was gay “on certain days of the week” and grappled with his sexuality at a time when society was closely closeted (one imagines that he tapped into his own personal struggles when penning his 1983 opera, A Quiet Place).
We also look at real-life musical partners like Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti or John Corigliano and Mark Adamo, and even go back in time to hear the radical musical leanings of such greats as Tchaikovsky and Benjamin Britten, while also setting the dial forward to hear works by Corey Dargel, Meredith Monk and Eve Beglarian.”
At the web page for this program, you will also find an “…archival interview (with music!) between this show’s regular host Nadia Sirota and composer Nico Muhly, which was produced as part of WNYC’s 2009 Homophony Festival.”
Nico Muhly’s new album, Seeing Is Believing is out today, available at Amazon. I listened to it at NPR/music and I loved it. I bought it today in .mp3. I am not a musician or a critic, so, no judgements here. You can still visit the NPR/music page to listen to the album.
Suffice it to say, Nico is probably the most important new New Music composer on the scene today. Nico is about 30 years old. If you want to see how prolific he has been, check him out on this page at Wikipedia. If you are a Q2 listener, you know you will hear plenty of his work.
Nico Muhly Provides Personalized Introductions to his Key Works
Friday, June 17, 2011
“Joining us from the BBC studios in London in advance of the world premiere of Two Boys, Nico Muhly also takes time to conduct us through a tour of the kaleidoscopic influences behind his already prodigious catalog.
From his musical awakenings as a boy chorister singing English verse anthems to throwing together dinners for close friends to the tone rows of Webern’s Op. 24, all manner of inspiration, both timeless and contemporary, sacred and secular, finds expression in his music. Through the ensemble of these exclusive introductions, we begin to appreciate the complexity of a compositional voice that is searching to define itself as both uncompromisingly modern and distinctive but also steeped in tradition and indebted to such elder statesmen as Steve Reich, John Corigliano, Philip Glass, David Lang, Christopher Rouse and David Rakowski.
Hear these introductions preceding the piece in question in Olivia Giovetti’s interview with Nico Muhly Monday at noon and throughout the entire five-day festival, ENO Does Nico, beginning Monday, June 20.”
Listen to over thirty tracks here at the web page.
“Nico Muhly has a flair for entrances. His 2007 album, Speaks Volumes, opens with a cello toward the apex of its register that quickly takes a multi-octave plunge. Mothertongue, from 2008, frenetically launches with a repeated high-octane read-through of the alphabet. Last year’s I Drink the Air Before Me pierces with a series of staccato arrows paired with more luscious, ominous rumbles, while its sister release, A Good Understanding, is heralded by a bracing organ flourish.
Varied though these opening salvos may be, they always signal a true listening experience. With his newest album, Seeing Is Believing, Muhly doesn’t let listeners down: A repeated arabesque on a violin curves and twirls as several additional layers of strings and percussion are added to the spiral, at once complementing and contrasting the title work’s first four notes, culminating with the addition of winds. It’s not unlike the ever-expanding universe, the mapping of which inspired this concerto for solo electric six-string violin. For nearly 30 minutes, Muhly commands rapt attention, referencing influences from former mentor Philip Glass to Stravinsky, circa Rite of Spring, and Ravel at his most impressionistic.”
Nico Muhly Seeing Is Believeing
Released via Decca Records
See the full article, and listen to the whole album or individual tracks here.
Nico Muhly: Gaming One’s Way Into Classical Music
“I want to offer a slightly more obscure but, I think, much more popular (in terms of numbers) counterexample. Although my parents had classical music on LP’s in the house, the childhood music I remember the most vividly is fragments from either live performances or, strangely, video games at my friends’ houses.
For me, living in the country, playing a video game was sort of like music minus one: The actions of my hands informed, in a strange way, the things I heard. Collect a coin, and a delighted glockenspiel sounds. Move from navigating a level above ground to one below ground, and the eager French chromaticism of the score changes to a spare, beat-driven minimal texture. Hit a star, and suddenly the score does a metric modulation. All of these things come to bear in a later musical education; I’m positive I understand how augmented chords change an emotional texture because of Nintendo music.
These are private musical revelations that happened in the manic, parched late-night of a sleepover, but then came to bear later in the context of actual chamber music.”
See the full article here.