Your Classical presents Beyond the Order of Things and Dark with Excessive Bright on Performance Today, Minnesota Public Radio

Friday, May 17, 202412:00pm

For admirers of Missy Mazzoli’s shimmering and electrifying sound worlds, Dark with Excessive Bright is a long-awaited and satisfying feast of texture and harmony. Although Mazzoli is a force in the contemporary classical world, this is the first time her orchestral works have ever been recorded. I love how this album highlights Mazzoli’s love of storytelling and tradition while always searching for new sounds, whether through amplification and distortion or sampling organs and voices.

This compendium of Mazzoli’s orchestral works stretches all the way back to 2006, with “These Worlds In Us.” Dedicated to her father, a Vietnam vet, the piece contemplates the emotional overlap between grief and joy, and it swirls with the textures of wheezing mouth organs and the glissandos of strings.

Of note is the title track, “Dark with Excessive Bright,” which offers a glimpse into Mazzoli’s process of composition and revision. Originally written for contrabass and orchestra, Mazzoli’s version for violinist Peter Herresthal “turns the orchestra upside down in a total transformation of the work.” The solo violin soars with a brightness not possible within the sonic limitations of the original instrumentation. As a bookend to the album, yet another arrangement of the piece appears for solo violin and string quintet.

The performances of Peter Herresthal, the Arctic Philharmonic and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra allow for Mazzoli’s music to truly shine, and I’m so thrilled that her music is finally available for us to experience. Dark with Excessive Bright was nominated for two Grammy nominations: Best Classical Compendium and Best Contemporary Classical Composition for “Dark with Excessive Bright.”

—Kathleen Bradbury, associate producer