American composer Nico Muhly, noted for his versatility and ingenuity as much as his age, acts as a guest host on WQXR’s Q2 channel this week with a focus on the choral music that has been both his passion and obsession for many years. A Good Understanding, the first to two new releases on Decca, presents Muhly’s own choral compositions as performed by the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Grant Gershon. The second release, I Drink the Air Before Me, is a large-scale ballet scored for chamber orchestra and written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Stephen Petronio Dance Company. A Good Understanding is currently available on iTunes and both releases receive full distribution on September 21, 2010 in both digital and physical formats.
"Choral music is my first love,” states Muhly. “Even though my voice broke in 1994, I still return to the emotional landscapes of Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, Howells, and Britten as a sort of home base for all of the music I write.” Over a four-part series on Q2 which started on Monday, Muhly talks about works that have influenced him and plays selected recordings of the works. The works and composers discussed cover many centuries, yet the listener can begin to understand Muhly’s fascination with these works and their influence on his own compositions.