by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Stephanie Berger
NYP rehearsing Nico's "Detailed Instructions" (via)
Members of New York Philharmonic and conductor/NYP music director Alan Gilbert premiered new works by Nico Muhly, Matthias Pintscher and Sean Shepherd at Symphony Space last Friday (4/16). The show was the second edition of NYP's CONTACT! series, which comissions new music from young composers and debuted in December. Online radio station Q2 will be broadcasting the performance, which included live interviews conducted by WNYC's John Schaefer, on Thursday, April 22nd at 7 pm and Saturday, April 24th at 4pm.
With a darker hued string section led by the violas, [Nico Muhly] work Detailed Instructions takes on a sound world that stood apart from the other pieces on the program. Muhly is post-minimal in orientation. And while a couple of the composers in the audience who sat near me groused at intermission that his work is 'indebted to Philip Glass,' what they didn't seem to hear was Muhly's playful departures from mainstream minimalism.As mentioned before, Nico Muhly's arrangements can be found on the new records by Jonsi and Sam Amidon.
Instead of Glass' symmetrical use of ostinati, Muhly's repeating figures dart in and out of the 'expected phrase lengths,' creating delightful surprises and heady syncopations. In the more reposeful central section, he channeled an appealing lyricism from his recent pop-based excursions into a spacious orchestral mold. The third section gave the NYPO musicians a chance to up the bpm quotient, in a breakneck paced, dazzling finale. Make no mistake, Muhly is no mere retro-minimalist; quite the contrary, he's a compelling new voice on the scene. [File Under?]
The Symphony Space show was followed by a performance at Metropolitan Museum of Art the day after, which was the last Contact! show of the NY Phil "season" (which runs through July). The series picks up again with three new commissions next December. Pictures from Friday's show are below...
Sean Shepherd, right
NY Phil Artist-in-Residence Thomas Hampson...
Matthias Pintscher, center