A Good Understanding

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After absorbing the influence of centuries of English choral music on Nico Muhly's creative works, we thought it time to hear how this passion finds shape in Muhly's distinctive, contemporary style. In conjunction with Obsessive Choral, Q2 is pleased to offer a free, limited-time download of the title track from Nico Muhly's new choral album, "A Good Understanding." This track, courtesy of Decca Records, is available through Sunday, September 19.

Read an excerpt from Muhly's blog to get a better understanding of the piece:

A Good Understanding is a celebratory, excited work originally written for adult voices with the addition of children’s voices at the end. The piece unfolds episodically, short choral phrases alternating with longer interludes from the organ and the percussion. The first half of the text is typical psaltry praise-making: outlining agreements, explaining the rules; the music is, accordingly, severe but practical. The second half of the text begins, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments”. I find the idea of “a good understanding” to be an especially exciting reward for following the rules; the trebles sing pulsed syllables and long descants to celebrate the covenant while the choir sings a lilting, repetitive refrain. --Nico Muhly

What do you think of the piece? What would a 21st century choral sound ressemble? Who is innovating and setting the tone for our 21st century choral music idiom?