The album includes a world premiere recording of Nico Muhly's “Shrink” Concerto for Violin and Strings. Muhly is one of the most-performed composers of his generation and performs piano on the album. Kuusisto, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (NCO), and Muhly all make their PENTATONE debut.
Also on the album is Phillip Glass's “The Orchard,” recorded through long-distance methods, and his String Quartet No.3, “Mishima,” which was arranged for string orchestra by Kuusisto.
"Phillip Glass had been present in our interactions since the beginning,” Kuusisto told The Violin Channel. “He and Nico go way back as colleagues, whereas I’ve been merely an admirer and occasional resident of Philip’s music.
“My musical education did not include works by American composers, and while I’ve since made my own explorations, Nico has in many ways functioned as my guide to New World music, past and present,” he continued.
“Against this background, coupling ‘Shrink’ with a new orchestration of Philip Glass’ Mishima quartet seems appropriate,” he said, having thought for years about arranging the piece for string orchestra. “'Mishima,' in my opinion, hosts some of the finest sets of elements and proportions Philip has developed.”
Muhly’s “Shrink,” dedicated to Kuusisto, made its European premiere in March 2020, just one night before the pandemic shut Oslo down. “Being able to record with them [NCO] in October of the same year was a ray of light during a most agonizing autumn,” said Kussisto.
“I’m beyond happy to begin my recording relationship with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra with this release.”
On August 26, 2021, Virtual Circle will present the digital European premiere performance of “Shrink,” performed by Kuusisto and the NCO to celebrate the launch of their new album. Tickets for the streamed concert and NFT ticket bundles can be purchased here.
To purchase and listen to “First Light,” click here.