Nico Muhly is my favorite composer; His work is a wide-ranging and eclectic mix of styles, from religious choral music to electronic explorations of language and narrative. I was lucky enough to have seen him perform a few months back, and that trascendent evening remains one of my musical highlights of the past few years. It is a hopeful sign when a young composer has new works commissioned by The Guggenheim Museum and Carnegie Hall sandwiched between doing orchestral arrangements for the rock bands Grizzly Bear and Final Fantasy at BAM. We live in wonderful times in so many ways.
Muhly has also begun scoring films, with his 2007 score for George Ratliff’s creepy Joshua in constant rotation on my iPod (and 2006’s score for Steve Barron’s Choking Man impossible to find… *help!*). On Tuesday, Muhly went full-on Hollywood with the release of his score for Stephen Daldry’s Golden Globe nominated The Reader. Although perhaps Muhly’s most conventional score, it is also his most lyrical work yet, a soaring (and very cinematic) collection of beautifully orchestrated pieces that recalls a little bit of Ennio Morricone’s score for The Mission filtered through Muhly mentor Philip Glass’ work on Notes On A Scandal. Influences (or are they inferences on my part?) aside, this score stands alone as beautiful music, with Muhly’s piano full of longing and complimented perfectly by soaring oboe lines and earth-bound strings. I haven’t seen the movie, but I can’t stop listening.
You can sample his work below and then head over to the iTunes store to buy a copy of the record. If you love good film scores like I do, this is must have music.
Nico Muhly (Piano) and Nadia Sirota (Viola), Café Carlyle, 12/10/08