It Remains to be Seen (2006)
Commissioned by the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute 40th Anniversary Gala Concert
It Remains to be Seen was written for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s 40th Anniversary Gala in July 2006. The piece begins with a chord identical to the one at the end of Stravinsky’s Firebird suite and proceeds into a series of charged nocturnal episodes. I wanted to treat the feeling of having just heard music, and being expected to make one’s own ““ referencing the experience of leaving a BSO concert at the shed, walking back to BUTI on a curvy back road, arguing about music in pairs and threes, and at the sign of bright headlights from behind, reorganizing in single file as a car filled with happy concert-goers speeds by. The piece is a nine-minute navigation of an excited, occasionally illuminated, dark road filled with arguing, cars, fragments of remembered music, and a constant, propulsive pulse. – Nico Muhly
Commissioned as a concert opener to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, It Remains to Be Seen was an especially significant project for the composer””a Tanglewood alumnus to whom the Institute represents the site of a personal, as well as musical, coming of age.
Muhly imagined It Remains”¦ as a portrait of the artist as a younger man, tinged with the energy and anticipation of youth. More specifically, his piece is the dramatization of a single Tanglewood memory””the nighttime walk back to the dormitories at the end of a symphony concert.
The piece is loosely programmatic: we hear the counterpoint of young concertgoers arguing, in excited modes, about the music they’ve just heard; we even hear them fall, periodically, into single file, allowing a car to pass them on the narrow country road. And so Muhly inverts the conventional arc of a concert-opening piece, beginning with a cymbal crash and orchestral tutti, and ending diminuendo, as the hush of evening takes over at last. ““ Program notes Â© 2007 Daniel Johnson
July 2006, Tanglewood
James Gaffigan, conductor