He's been featured in the New Yorker, worked with Björk (Guðmundsdóttir), jónsi, and is working on an opera for the Met; so it's safe to assume you've heard of Nico Muhly. [He also got 5.1 and 7.4/7.8 from Pitchfork. Which means he's tied with Missy Mazzoli's Victoire. Let the arch-rivalry begin.]
I saw him perform twice in New York for the Ecstatic Music Marathon. The first, at the opening Marathon concert, was a performance of Keep in Touch; the second, on his own concert, shared with Valgeir Sigurdsson, included a premiere of his new string quartet Diacritical Marks.
Thanks to @danieljinyc, we have some great photos and video of Muhly playing with Nadia Sirota (his go-to violist, collaborator, and muse).
This is only a snippet from the middle-end of a 12-minute piece, leaving out the opening, a plaintive solo viola and then ensuing slow build-up of structure. At this point in the piece, there is finally a semblance of structure--like we're looking through the clouds to see the earth below--the descending/ascending bass line establishing some regularity, albeit fraught with variation and tangents. [As "Muhly's eclecticism is facilitated by both Google and iTunes," maybe the cloud metaphor is apt. (New Yorker)]
While I have found Muhly's music too distracted, rudderless--perhaps perfect for the modern attention span but not for me--this piece manages to find enough solid ground to satisfy my tastes.
For more info, check out Muhly's site
And the recording on Bedroom Community
Filed under: ecstatic