Nico Muhly – A Hudson Cycle

Daniel Johnson. A HUDSON CYCLE was written as a wedding gift for two friends, one of whom was leaving Manhattan behind to effect their union. This is music of longing and anticipation; losing a beautiful place, approaching a beloved person. The right hand and the left struggle to synchronize, now succeeding, now failing to coincide. The primary rhythmic figure–a restless polyrhythm of two beats in the right hand for every three in the left–should recall the onward rush of the titular river, which very much represents “home” for the composer. (There it is, out his window.) It should also recall the music of Philip Glass, one of Nico’s most important influences, who’s made extended two-against-three one of his compositional trademarks.