Program note

n. deliberately euphemistic, ambiguous, or obscure language

Nico Muhly’s Doublespeak was written as a commission for Eighth Blackbird and in honour of Philip Glass’ 75th birthday. Muhly worked for Glass as a copyist and arranger and Glass’ influence on his music can be heard in Doublespeak through its constantly pulsing rhythms and repetitive phrases, as well as in its harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary.

Intending to write the “most fun piece possible” for the Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Muhly composed Doublespeak, a piece that harks back to the 1970s when classical music perfected obsessive repetition. Listeners familiar with the minimalism movement may be able to hear subtle references to Reich’s Violin Phase, Riley’s In C, and Glass’ Music in Twelve Parts.

While Muhly borrows some hallmarks of the minimalist sound world, he establishes his own style, incorporating colourful phrases and harmonies together in an exciting and persistent pace.  

Constantly moving, energetic, and overbrimming with life, Doublespeak resolves in a beautiful, mystical dream-like state.


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