• Nico Muhly
  • Clear Music (2005)

  • St. Rose Music Publishing (World)
  • Cello, harp, celesta
  • 9 min

Programme Note

Clear Music (after John Taverner) was written at the request of the cellist Wendy Law during the summer of 2002. Clear Music is an extended exploration of a single measure in John Taverner’s (1490-1545) motet Mater Christi Sanctissima. What I attempted to do in Clear Music was to suspend this measure for as long as I could imagine in a single texture: the bright clarity of the celeste and harp. As in the Taverner, I have structured Clear Music into a series of peaks featuring the highest registers of the treble voice – here, the cello. I remember very vividly performing this piece and being struck by how distant the treble was from the other voices – sometimes, there are spaces of over an octave between the treble and the alto – and I attempted to recreate the somewhat terrifying and exposed contours of these lines. The end result is, I hope, a prolonged and transparent recollection of the Taverner which exposes not only my appreciation for the music itself but also my response to performing it.

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Clear Music

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