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Press Reviews for Mothertongue

When I was a cathedral chorister, my choir gave the first performances of much of John Tavener’s early work, back when he was truly out on the weirder fringe, and long before he arrived at the relative formalism of The Lamb and Song for Athene. At times, the score would invite us to sing pretty much what we liked, or the notes would so resemble ink flicked maniacally at the page that the results tended to be equally arbitrary. Nico Muhly, a New York-based American musician, evokes early Tavener here, among referencepoints that also include Radiohead, Björk, Ligeti and Glass. If Sigur Ros (see below) eschew conventional structure, they are like Westlife compared with Muhly. 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. It’s also fairly odd.

Dan Cairns

The Sunday Times (July 22nd 2008) ★★★★★★★★

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I Drink The Air Before Me
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Released on 25 May 2008
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Speaks Volumes
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