Contemporary American composer Nico Muhly is a prolific writer and arranger who, at 32, is the youngest composer ever to have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His oeuvre includes two operas, and many solo pieces and works for small ensemble, Orchestra, and Chorus and he has collaborated widely.
Muhly first fell in love with Byrd’s four-part anthem Senex Puerum Portabat during his days as a chorister. The ‘fluidity of the lines, the relentless lilting rhythm, and the way Byrd both avoided and cradled the text’ inspired the composer to follow a life in music.
Written early on in Muhly's career, this piece sets the same text in the modern style. The first statement of the words is a capella with ecstatic brass entering in the restatement. The ancient Hodie Christus Natus Est follows on seamlessly in a new mood.