Merry Christmas!

I just watched this brief video of a discussion between composer Nico Muhly and Ira Glass at the New York Public Library. Muhly is talking about his issue with traditional Christmas music and a piece he wrote to counter that. Watch it! It’s very short and you get an inside look at a very original piece of music.

We performed the piece he’s talking about last year for our holiday concert. The direction he gives the choir for the section he discusses is: “freely – do not coordinate with other singers – ecstatic.”

Each section has a note and every individual singer can do whatever they want with their note as long as it’s nothing like what the other singers around the singer are doing with their notes. Here’s what I wrote about the experience:

“It should sound like a mess, but it does this pulsating, expanding and contracting … thing.  It’s like a singing choir traveling through a bunch of different universes, and the sound warps and changes depending on the physics of the universe they are in at the time. It’s an incredible result for such a simple thing.  But why he does this is even better.  He wants us to represent a crowd of different ages, sizes, genders, backgrounds, all proclaiming Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest) each in our own unique way … it it effectively moves from spookiness, mystery, tenderness, love, to exaltation.”

Bleecker sitting on a chair above Finney. You can just feel the inherent danger in this arrangement. That dangling paw … a swipe is imminent.

Happy holidays from me and the boys! Thank you for visiting with us throughout the year!

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. Merry Christmas from here in the UK ! Just watching Nicks losing against Oklahoma. Going to start new Donna Tartt novel later. Have you read it ?

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