Magazine article Gramophone

Muhly: Howards End-Original Series Soundtrack

Magazine article Gramophone

Muhly: Howards End-Original Series Soundtrack

Article excerpt

Muhly Howards End--original series soundtrack Orchestrate / Nico Muhly Milan (F) 399 976-2 (63' * DDD)

In the same week last November that BBC Television unveiled its new adaptation of Howards End, ENO presented the premiere of Nico Muhly's opera Marnie at the London Coliseum. Such events are rare but nonetheless welcome in a musical world where composers stray less from their home ground than once was the case. Unlike the grand affair that is Marnie, Howards End is scored for a small body of strings and piano with a sparing splash of synthesised percussion. From the moments the credits roll the ear is drawn to something fresh and original, with no hint of Edwardiana in view. Muhly's music is hand in glove with the swiftly directed, contemporary take on Forster's literary classic, adapted by writer Kenneth Lonergan.

The 'Opening' (track 2) is a brisk, well-paced allegretto with busy piano-writing overlaid with string ornamentation, suggesting the laughter and chatter of the two well-to-do families around whom the story unfolds. The Schlegel family are apt to talk across one another, their lively discourse captured by Muhly in weaving melodic lines exhibiting a polyphonic process (tracks 5, 7, 20 and 22). …

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