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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marrying the ultra-modern and tradition, 19 Oct. 2011
Philip Herring "vaslav" (soudley, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Speaks Volumes (Audio CD)
Nico Muhly is influenced by Reich and Glass but his music has more emotional content than their arithmetical minimalism. This young and modern musician does ,in fact, acknowledge a greater debt to the choral Renaissance tradition. You are immediately struck by the integrity and honesty of this composer and the more you listen to these miniatures the more dense and complex they seem. Clear Music begins with a mournful unaccompanied cello in a high register which is soon challenged by an angrier grating in the bass.Then a cacophony of instruments,including the plinks of a harp and a musical box, impel the music forward,working against each other at different rhythyms. A bell-ringing effect introduces the final quieter bars. It Goes Without has tooting woodwind and clacking keys and pedals overlaying the droning and squeeze-box effect of an harmonium. Hand-shaken tiny bells make a brief appearance,as does a kitchen whisk, superseded by an electronic 'burring' and vibrating strings working towards an erotic climax that is not realised. Honest Music begins with deep, low drones of an harmonium and talking strings, achieving fuller harmonies and the higher wails recall Part. Bows bouncing all over the strings bring it to an end.Quiet Music has quiet piano chords contrasting with intermittent,repeated loud notes and phrases evolving into spacious harmonies suggesting the stillness of land or seascape. Pillaging Music enters with a stalking marimba and an intimidating growling and barking piano. A violent percussion section ,made up of junk objects, comes to brief full-stops. It has a staccato end ,with big thumps on the piano.In A Hudson Cycle the piano flows,swings,curves and eddies - finding sensual harmonies that lure the listener below the surface. A solo viola with abrasive scratching of the gut introduces Keep In Touch. Antony's taped,abrupt hums and utterances are a variation of this instrument, conversational yet detached. The chaconne form produces a pleading and lamenting effect.Electronic blasts,angry trombones and a sawing violin reach a crescendo before the listener is assuaged and appeased by the finale. Muhly's talent for marrying the ultra-modern and tradition is very apparent in this CD and is deserving of admiration and respect.
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Speaks Volumes
Speaks Volumes by Nico Muhly
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