Last Sunday, we published a person-of-interest piece I'd written on composer Nico Muhly. That day, the article went off without a hitch — why wouldn't it? — but then, as Mr. Muhly would later write, "A strange thing happened..."
On Tuesday, I noticed that the article seemed to be getting more attention. I clicked on the Twitter button on our website and noticed that somehow, the piece had been the source of some mini-fires a'flamin'. Some people expressed anger at what Mr. Muhly had said in the interview, while he tried to clarify his views. He later did so with a post on his website that is longer than the 140 characters allowed per Tweet.
His response is worth reading not only for his clarifications, but also for the window into a mind I'd tried to capture, as best I could, in the short profile. The sources of his thoughts, the experiences he draws on, the ideas he shares are fascinating.
He also wondered why the interview had only shown up now. By way of explanation...I had interviewed Mr. Muhly back in late January when he was in town for Pittsburgh Opera's "Dark Sisters." It was already too late for the traditional preview article, and I held off on writing the article, especially since that was one of the busiest times of the classical music season...
Anyway, time flies, and in my summer off-loading of articles I'd reported but not written, I finally listened to the recording of the interview and write it up. (It was hilarious, by the way — certainly one of the most memorable interviews I've done, although some of his best lines were a bit too pungent for a family newspaper.)
There were, however, a couple of problems with the late arrival. For example, Mr. Muhly didn't remember the details of the interview (why would he?), which meant that he was scrambling to clarify views for which he didn't recall the context. And he said some recent events (e.g., the state of union negotiations at the Met) meant that he wouldn't have said some of what he'd said at the time.
As he wrote in an email last week:
"Subject line: I wrote...
...just a few clarifications! I have to say, it's marginally little nuts to be in my off season — I don't have anything going on really — and have an article appear out of the blue! I've been rather dormant, writing choral music and thinking about the Council of Trent etc. — the problem, often, with doing press blitzes, as I did with you in P'burg, is that it's all happening in the context of rehearsals, other interviews, four thousand local radio shows, and things can come off as slightly inflammatory! I also would hate to have myself shouting "let it close" in print in the middle of this dreadful Met/union negotiation — if you had called me today that is certainly not what I would have said!"
For me, it was a learning experience if nothing else!