Nico Muhly

Nico Muhly’s opera Marnie, based on Winston Graham’s novel, opens at the Metropolitan Opera in New York this month.

From The Blog
3 December 2021

Identifying with the characters is a normal part of going to the theatre. With Stephen Sondheim, though, it goes further than that. You find yourself identifying with the composer, feeling that he is speaking directly to you as a friend or teacher or relative, almost, though never actually, bypassing the plot and the characters with an unending fusillade of brilliance.

Diary: How I Write Music

Nico Muhly, 25 October 2018

The primary task, I feel, is to create a piece of art that is better than the same amount of silence; I would prefer to sit silently thinking for ten minutes than to listen to certain pieces of music, and therefore feel that it is my duty as a composer to occupy the time of the listener and the musicians with something challenging, engaging and emotionally alluring. I don’t want to play them a movie with a clear exposition, obvious climax and poignant conclusion, nor do I want to drop them blind into a bat cave of aggressively perplexing musical jabs. I try to create an environment that suggests motion but that doesn’t insist on certain things being felt at certain times. Mapping the piece’s route helps me avoid the temptation of the romantic journey or the provocateur’s dungeon.

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