Nico Muhly’s distinctive voice

Posted on: May 20, 2009

“Don’t hate Nico Muhly just because he’s popular,” writes Seth Colter Walls in the May 25 edition of Newsweek. “Though classical composers aren’t supposed to get any love until they’re old (or dead), the 27-year-old is already collecting commissions at a graybeard’s pace. His first opera, which he’s still writing, was requested by the Met. In the last year, Muhly composed the soundtrack to The Reader, issued the dizzyingly fine disc Mothertongue, had an evening of works presented by Lincoln Center and collaborated with indie ‘it’ group Grizzly Bear on its must-listen new album of experimental folk suites, Veckatimest. … Like a good fusion chef, he’s particular about his ingredients. He combines the rhythmic exuberance of early American minimalism (thus his appeal to the hipsters) with the harmonies of early choral music to create a sound of unique clarity. His pieces are short on grand themes and long on figures that writhe with the delighted physicality of youth. … They are also shot through with fun. Muhly delights in setting lines from Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style to music, or, over a cup of coffee, breaking into a gleeful imitation of the austere composer Pierre Boulez. (He loves Boulez, however, and wants the 84-year-old iconoclast to open a Twitter account.)”

Posted May 20, 200