The Internal Brightness of Nico Muhly

October 7, 2023, 4:00 pm

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Nico Muhly in his composing studio, digital keyboard, sheet music, and large computer monitor on his desk, smiling, leaning on his right elbow; wearing black coat over grey-blue t-shirt.
Nico Muhly (Photo: Heidi Solander)

On his personal website, American composer Nico Muhly (b.1981) describes how one of the major influences in his work has been the Anglican choral tradition.

“My sense of line, melody, and harmony all come from strange, specifically choral sources: a little turn of phrase in a Howells Te Deum setting, or a Tye vocal leap that sends shivers up the spine.”—Nico Muhly

Muhly, whose new orchestration of Monteverdi’s Orfeo received its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera this summer, joins Oliver Camacho to show how he carries on and expands upon the Anglican choral tradition in his own work. They also discuss the responsibility of being a composer in the 21st century and the important stories that can be told in another genre at which he excels: art song.


All selections composed by Nico Muhly.

Bright Mass with Canons: Sanctus & Benedictus
Saintt Thomas Choir of Men and Boys
Frederick Teardo, organ
John Scott, conductor

Senex Puerum Portabat
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon, conductor

How Little You Are
VI. The night herders
Austin Guitar Quartet
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Texxas Guitar Quartet
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor

Spiral Mass: Agnus Dei
Netherlands Chamber Choir
James McVinnie, organ
Stephen Layton, conductor

Four Traditional Songs
I. A Brisk Young Lad
Iestyn Davies, countertenor
Joseph Middleton, piano

Endless Space
Renée Fleming, soprano
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, piano

VI. Everyone Cries
VII. My Love
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Brooklyn Rider