AMERICAN PREMIERE OF Nico Muhly'S "Impossible things" with colin Jacobsen, violin & THe knights at the 2016 ny Phil Biennial


"The Knights also gave the American première of Nico Muhly’s song cycle “Impossible Things,” a rapt setting of poems by C. P. Cavafy, in Daniel Mendelsohn’s translation. Scored for tenor, violin, and ensemble, the piece inevitably recalls Britten’s magisterial cycles, most of all the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings. But Muhly has found his own musical language, a lyricism underpinned by subtle tension, and it achieves uncanny alignment with the lights and shadows of Cavafy’s poetry. Nicholas Phan sang with extraordinary warmth of tone and clarity of diction. At the end, in curt, biting phrases, he delivered the line “By far the best life is the one that cannot be lived” over motoric arpeggios in the strings. "