Four Traditional Songs
is a setting of four heartbreaking and poignant folk songs by virtuoso contemporary composer Nico Muhly
. Composed in 2011, the songs deal with themes of death, murder and unimaginable events that are emotively arranged for Countertenor Voice and Piano.
Commissioned by Carnegie Hall in New York City and Wigmore Hall in London, this work was first performed at those renowned venues in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Muhly states that he drew inspiration from old English folksongs, and would spend time imagining stylised yet subtle musical settings with accompaniments. The result of this intensive period of listening is Four Traditional Songs, which lasts around 15 minutes and carries that incredible sense of sad balladry that counters the occasionally jaunty melodies.