Mothertongue

by Nico Muhly

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    — SKIP TOWN written for piano, prepared piano and electronics.

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credits

released 16 June 2008

All Music composed by Nico Muhly.
©2008 St. Rose Music Publishing Co., Inc. (ASCAP).

Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Programming by Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly. Additional recording by Adam Thompson (voice in Mothertongue), & Chris Thompson (field recording). Recorded at Looking Glass Studios, New York City (Christian Rutledge, manager) and Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík (Sturla Þórisson, manager)

Interns, the spinal column of productivity:
Þobbi, Tobbi, Zakki, Paul, Rob & Leó

Artwork by Buchanan-Smith
Cover photograph by Michael Schmelling
“Iceland, 2003” photograph by Jason Frank Rothenberg

www.nicomuhly.com
www.bedroomcommunity.net

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about

Nico Muhly New York

A Graduate of the Juilliard School for composition, Vermont-born Nico Muhly has been causing significant ripples in modern music circles with a variety of projects. Nico has collaborated closely with artists as diverse as Antony (from Antony and the Johnsons) and Philip Glass. ... more

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Track Name: Wonders: I. New Things & New Tidings
I
An excerpt from Anne Wallens Lamentation For the Murthering of her husband Iohn Wallen a Turner in Cow-lane neere Smithfield; done by his owne wyfe, on satterday the 22 of Iune 1616 who was burnt in Smithfield the first of Iuly following.
To the tune of Fortune my foe.

Great God that sees al things that here are don
Keeping thy Court with thy celestiall Son,
Heere her complaint that hath so sore offended,
Forgive my fact before my life is ended.

II
An excerpt from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (XXXIV)

For men say always, that new things and new tidings be pleasant to hear. Wherefore I will hold me still, without any more rehearsing of diversities or of marvels that be beyond, to that intent and end, that
whoso will go into those countries, he shall find enough to speak of, that I have not touched of in no wise.

III
An excerpt from Mans Amazement: It being a true Relation of one Thomas Cox, a Hackney-Coach-man, to whom the Devil appeared on friday night, it being the 31st. of October, first in the likeness of a Gentleman,
seeming to have a role of Paper or Parchment in his hand, afterwards in the likeness of a great Bear with glaring eyes, which so affrighted him, that it deprived him of all his Sences. To the tune of Di gby’s Fa rewel.

IV
A poem by King James I of England And graunt the lyke when as the swimming sort Of all thy subjects skaled I list declare: As Triton monster with a manly port,
Who drownd the Troyan trumpetour most raire:
As Marmaids wyse, who wepis in wether faire:
And marvelous Monkis, I meane Monkis of the see.
Bot what of monsters, when Ilooke and staire
On wounderous heapes of subiectis seruing the?
As whailes so huge, and Sea eylis rare, that be
Myle longs, in crawling cruikis of sixtie pace;
And Daulphins, Seahorse, Selchs with oxin ee,
And Mersvvynis, Pertrikis als of fishes race.
In short, no fowle doth flie, nor beast doth go,
But thow hast fishes lyke to them and mo.

V
A complaint against Thomas Weelkes, composer and informator choristarum at Chichester, an Anonymous report to the Bishop, 1619 Dyvers tymes & very often come so disguised eyther from the Taverne or Ale house into the quire as is muche to be lamented, for in these humoures he will bothe curse & sweare most dreadfully, & so profane the service of God … and though he hath bene often tymes admonished
… to refrayne theis humors and reforme hym selfe, yett he daylye continuse the same, & is rather worse than better therein.

Other texts
Also set are the lines “These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,” from Thule, the period of cosmography
An excerpt from an article on Cod in Morgunblaðið,
the alphabet and numbers in Icelandic.
Track Name: The Only Tune: I. Two Sisters
From the traditional folksong, adapted by Sam Amidon & Nico Muhly

There there there were there were there were two there were two there were two sis there were two sis there were two sisters there were two sisters there were two sisters wah there were two sisters wah there were two sisters walking there were two sisters walking there were two sisters walking down there were two sisters walking down there were two sisters walking down by there were two sisters walking down by there were two sisters walking down by a there were two sisters walking down by a there were two sisters walking down by a there were two sisters walking down by a there were two sisters walking down by a stream There were two sisters walking down by a stream, Oh, the wind and the rain! Older one pushed the younger one in, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! Pushed her in the river to drown, Oh, the wind and the rain! Watched her as she floated on down, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! Floated on down to the old mill pond, Oh, the wind and the rain! Floated on down to the old mill pond, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! Pushed her in the river to drown, Oh, the wind and the rain! Watched her as she floated on down, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! The miller fished her out with his long, long hook, Oh, the wind and the rain! He brought this maid in from the brook, Oh the dreadful wind and rain! He laid her on the bank to dry, Oh, the wind and the rain! A fiddling fool came passing by, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! He made a fiddle bow from her long yellow hair, Oh, the wind and the rain! He made a fiddle bow of her long yellow hair, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! He made fiddle pegs from her long finger bones, Oh, the wind and the rain! He made fiddle pegs from her long finger bones, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! He made a fiddle bridge from her own nose bridge, Oh, the wind and the rain! He made a fiddle bridge from her own nose bridge, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! and he made a fiddle from her own breast bone, Oh, the wind and the rain!, whose sound could melt a heart of stone, Oh, the dreadful wind and rain! and the only tune that fiddle could play Oh, the wind and the rain! the only tune that fiddle would play was, “Oh, the dreadful wind and rain!” (oh oh the oh the dread oh the dreadful oh the dreadful wind oh the dreadful wind and oh the dreadful wind and rain).