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24 August 2010

Nico Muhly to release two albums via Decca Classics

Two brand new CDs by Nico Muhly will be released on September 6th 2010; A Good Understanding and I Drink The Air Before Me.  A Good Understanding — a collection of choral works performed by The Los Angeles Master Chorale and recorded in Disney Hall, L.A. — will be released by the legendary record label Decca Classics. The Bedroom Community produced album I Drink The Air Before Me is taken from a score created by Muhly for Stephen Petronio's ballett of the same name. This album will be released worldwide by Bedroom Community in collaboration with Decca. Of course you can get it here, directly from your favourite little indie-label!

To quote Decca's press release:

Commissioned for the 25th Anniversary of the Stephen Petronio Dance Company, the piece [I Drink The Air Before Me] was premiered in New York in early 2010 and will be performed by them at London’s Barbican in October 2010. The release will be a collaboration with the eclectic independent label Bedroom Community.
“The writing was ingenious and troubled, maybe a warm-up for more ambitious orchestral scores. What made it work was the way Muhly had absorbed Petronio’s nervous, insistent choreography and echoed and extended it in his music. Well worth the watch and, even more, the listen.” – John Rockwell, ArtsJournal.com
Paul Moseley, General Manager of Decca said, “For many years Decca has strived to capture on disc the very best in contemporary music. Nico Muhly is one of the most exciting and individual voices of today and we look forward to many collaborations with him."

Click here to preview and pre-order I Drink The Air Before Me and receive 2 exclusive bonus tracks only available through Bedroom Community.

 

A Good Understanding is available from Decca, more details right here.

 

Here below is the full Decca press-release for both I Drink The Air Before Me and A Good Understanding.

DECCA MUSIC GROUP – PRESS RELEASE
23 JULY 2010

Decca signs agreement to release new recordings 
by Nico Muhly, “the planet’s hottest composer” 
[The Daily Telegraph]


Under a new agreement, Decca will release its first recording of music by young American composer Nico Muhly in Autumn 2010; an album of choral music sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by their Music Director Grant Gershon, entitled A Good Understanding.

New York based Muhly, born in 1981 is “the planet’s hottest composer” (The Daily Telegraph). He has composed extensively for the concert hall as well as for films including The Reader, and for dance. His new opera Two Boys – commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, New York and English National Opera, will premiere in London in Spring 2011, transferring to New York in 2013.

A hugely enthusiastic choral composer, Nico Muhly acknowledges that his unique musical vocabulary was fed by early experiences as a boy chorister.
“Writing choral music is one of my greatest pleasures in life; I was a boy chorister with an addiction to the textures and rapturous moments that define the Anglican choral tradition. My sense of line, melody, and harmony all come from strange, specifically choral sources.”

The new album was recorded in the acclaimed acoustics of the choir’s home – the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

This first release will be followed by a recording of Muhly’s acclaimed ballet score I Drink The Air Before Me. Commissioned for the 25th Anniversary of the Stephen Petronio Dance Company, the piece was premiered in New York in early 2010 and will be performed by them at London’s Barbican in October 2010. The release will be a collaboration with the eclectic independent label Bedroom Community.

“The writing was ingenious and troubled, maybe a warm-up for more ambitious orchestral scores. What made it work was the way Muhly had absorbed Petronio’s nervous, insistent choreography and echoed and extended it in his music. Well worth the watch and, even more, the listen.” – John Rockwell, ArtsJournal.com

Paul Moseley, General Manager of Decca said, “For many years Decca has strived to capture on disc the very best in contemporary music. Nico Muhly is one of the most exciting and individual voices of today and we look forward to many collaborations with him.”
 

What the press says

The EP is a lilting, sometimes arch set of modern classical composition – by no means intimidating to neophytes, and encoded with delightful little motifs.

Breaking down as a cycle of five efficiently short pieces, the results are captivating and continue to strengthen the case for Nico Muhly as one of the world’s consistently brilliant young composers.

Boomkat (May 25th 2012) Read all reviews

Brubaker alternates between lovely ivory lines and frantic, freeform eighty-eights pounding, while Sirota tends to supply sublimely droning string swells in the background.

Exclaim! (May 25th 2012) Read all reviews

Drones & Piano is an expressive, enchanting, moving skein.

Lucy Jones — The Telegraph (May 28th 2012) Read all reviews

...it’s real appeal is in savouring how Muhly creatively uses consonance and dissonance with his chosen drone.

Don’t assume this five-song collection sounds like your aunt singing Duran Duran whilst lugging a Dyson across the living room… the bedrock of these pieces becomes highly charged; stuck within a confined space they so desperately want to break free of.

For a large part of this quarter of an hour, Brubaker pokes the keys of his piano in an obsessive and compulsive way, and gives a strength and intensity to the story that at times abstracts any particular genesis or conception of the project, as if everything came to life on its own and full of meaning much beyond the constitution and starting point of the scores.

Playground Mag (June 22nd 2012) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...it is both playful and studied, something incredibly hard to achieve. Well worth a closer look.

Boomkat (August 7th 2012) Read all reviews

These are drones with an intellect.

Robinson Meyer — The Atlantic (August 20th 2012) Read all reviews

The sharp bites of fingers crashing against the piano’s keys put against high pitched whirrs of the violin take you on a incredible journey through suspense and terror.

Francesca Davison — Dummy (August 30th 2012) Read all reviews

Nico Muhly has an intriguing creative mind; [Drones & Violin is] an interesting work and yet another addition to his diverse back catalogue.

The 405 (September 5th 2012) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

Muhly’s versatility has been commented on plenty at this point, and this series finale is yet more ammunition.

Boomkat (September 6th 2012) Read all reviews

Muhly challenges his compositional skills rather brilliantly and creates three intensely captivating series of compositions.

Bruno Lasnier — The Milk Factory (September 6th 2012) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

What is noteworthy here is the way songcraft repeatedly emerges from tension. Muhly’s explorations never fail to find something worthwhile.

Tobias Carroll — Dusted (October 5th 2012) Read all reviews

A compelling trio of EPs.

eMusic (November 12th 2012) Read all reviews

Drones is a necessary acquisition for anyone interested in Muhly’s work outside pop.

AllMusic (November 19th 2012) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...Nico Muhly’s pieces feel like a series of archly posed questions. In their formal inventiveness, love of blank space, and haiku-like neatness, they arouse the part of your brain that suspects it’s being outsmarted…To feel your intellect being playfully, patiently tested, as if he is circling your mind and kicking its tires, can be a wonderfully maddening experience.

Jayson Greene — Pitchfork (November 29th 2012) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

“...the best thing I’ve ever heard of Muhly’s…”

Steve Hicken — Burning Ambulance (December 4th 2012) Read all reviews

One of the most impressive aspects of these pieces is the variety of relationships that unfold between the “solo” instruments and the drones…beautifully despondent.

The Boston Globe (December 22nd 2012) Read all reviews

“...the latest from this brilliant, boundary-pushing composer [...] is post-minimal virtuosity, sometimes rollicking in nods to the likes of Rzewski, sometimes static sculpture, sometimes rock-and-roll. It’s, vitally, never timid.”

Create Digital Music (December 26th 2012) Read all reviews

A hugely rewarding album that’s surely set to be one of the finest modern classical releases of 2010.

Boomkat (September 21st 2010) Read all reviews

..it’s the sheer variety of the invention, and the soundworld created for it, that holds the attention…

Guardian (September 30th 2010) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

Muhly is definitely a composer to watch out for.

All Music (October 21st 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

Throughout, Muhly realizes some magical effects

Pitchfork — Pitchfork (December 8th 2010) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"Weird, and intermittently wonderful."

Andy Gill — The Independent (May 13th 2008) ★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"As accomplished as Muhly’s debut was, I wasn’t quite ready for him to unfurl the full length of his ambition in the way he does on Mothertongue."
"Here, Muhly brings classic instrumentation, electronics and voices together into a piece of work which is at the forefront of contemporary classical music. Truly magnificent."

themilkman — The Milk Factory (June 3rd 2008) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"the three extended sound collages here are radically different in conception but are lent unified coherence by the central role of the various singers, all deployed at the extremes of human vocal expression."

Nigel Williamson — Uncut (June 17th 2008) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

 In a transfixing exploration of the sung voice’s possibilities, he draws on Icelandic myth, English folklore, 17th-century church politics and royal superstition. It is never less than fascinating.  

Dan Cairns — The Sunday Times (July 22nd 2008) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"Muhly always wants to be perceived, and here, we witness the junkyard of his memory being spun into something at once utterly ordinary and utterly strange."

Pitchfork Media (August 19th 2008) Read all reviews

"It makes a change to come across an album of contemporary music that's not merely a document of a "performance" but a piece of creative recording in its own right."
"POSTMODERNISM’S TRIUMPH"

Atli Bollason — Morgunblaðið (October 17th 2006) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"This is a dazzling album...a brilliant stylistic uniqueness."

Touching Extremes — Touching Extremes (April 2nd 2010) Read all reviews

"a highly evocative and beautiful album..."

FdW — Vital Weekly (April 2nd 2010) Read all reviews

"The combination of Muhly's formidable modern classical chamber compositions and Valgeir Sigurðsson's greatly textured and varied production makes for some pretty remarkable listening.... If you’re after one of those records no one’s heard off but that everyone will want to own once given an airing - this is the real deal. Gorgeous."

Boomkat — Boomkat (April 2nd 2010) Read all reviews

"A NEW ORTHODOXY - composer nico muhly speaks fluently"

Will Welch — The Fader Magazine (April 2nd 2010) Read all reviews

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