Thomas Bartlett & Nico Muhly

Europe / International, Asia, Australia, South America

Thomas Bartlett & Nico Muhly – Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music

Enchanted by Colin McPhee’s transcriptions of Balinese ceremonial music, Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and Nico Muhly were inspired to create their own dual piano compositions, mimicking the complex structures and distinctive overlapping patterns of the gamelan musical style. Bartlett & Muhly have reimagined the gamelan traditions for Western audiences on their new collaborative album, Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music, to be released on Nonesuch Records on May 18, 2018. Their performance features not just ‘the most characterful piano’ they could find, but Thomas’ voice and many of their closest collaborators on strings and metallic percussion. A member of the ethereal Irish band, The Gloaming, Bartlett is no stranger to composing and performing intricate and emotionally-charged pieces of music. He has worked with a diverse range of artists including The National, Chris Thile, Glen Hansard, and Antony and the Johnsons. Nico Muhly’s influences span from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. He has written more than 80 works for the concert stage, working most frequently as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass.

Ten years in the making, this new duo album began in college, where together Muhly and Bartlett because obsessed with the textures and interlocking rhythms of this distinctive musical style. The results of this collaboration reflect both artists’ recent works and yet are entirely unique. Of the lyrics, Bartlett says, ‘I ended up going through baby books my mom has from when I was a little kid, finding strange things I had said, and building lyrics off of that-then folding in all of these references to different saints and things that seemed connected to Peter Pears, to Colin McPhee, to that world.” Muhly adds, ‘there’s this matrix of connections that are both musical and emotional.” This is music like no other, bursting the transcriptions of McPhee into the 21st century in a mesmerizing auditory experience by two of New York’s most acclaimed polymaths.