Nico Muhly


Nico Muhly
March 2006
I Cannot Attain Unto It
The American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein premiered Mr. Muhly’s Fits & Bursts at Avery Fisher Hall in February 2003, and the Juilliard Orchestra under Jeffrey Milarsky premiered his Out of the Loop at the Juilliard Theater. Out of the Loop went on to win an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award. In April 2004, his So to Speak was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra under Jeffrey Milarsky in Alice Tully Hall. For more information, visit: http://nicomuhly.com.

I Cannot Attain Unto It is a setting of a section of Psalm 139 arranged such that certain syllables repeat and cycle around each other. The harmonic motion of the piece is through common tones, a method in which a single note is sustained through two related or unrelated keys. The use of the repetition is meant to be at once devotional and hypnotic. Mr. Muhly said he has been drawn to the psalms since he was a young child. “Their obsessive repetition and turns of phrase has always fascinated me. Every time I set one, I learn something new about the strategic use of repetition.”