He studied with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse, and his music bears their stamp. I also hear the influences of Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt and even Michael Nyman. As with all of these composers, there’s a direct, heart-on-sleeve quality to Muhly’s music, and a willingness to engage with his audience’s received musical culture. He seeks fresh new pathways to follow – but he’s no iconoclast, out to overthrow anyone or anything.
One such piece is How About Now, composed for New York’s Now Ensemble in 2006. Scored for flute, clarinet, piano, electric guitar and bass, How About Now is upbeat and (seemingly) informal, with a pleasant, quasi-minimalist flow.
Muhly writes: “I wanted the piece to feel like it comes from their pre-existing pantry of musical devices – a sort of thrown-together meal with close friends: a can of chick peas here, this mysterious dried mushroom, that jar of cocktail onions, and somehow, dinner happens.”
Here’s a YouTube video, with the Now Ensemble performing.
© Colin Eatock 2015