by Nicholas Stevens
“The music as always speaks its own language.” In a program note for his new piece Pathways, Henry Threadgill names places and people who inspired him, yet declines to describe the music or the process behind it. Immersion in the 90-minute work feels like watching a non-narrative film in a familiar yet unknown language. What the committee for the Pulitzer Prize for Music recognized when they honored Threadgill in 2016 was the unique vitality of this invented language. In its world premiere outing on Friday, January 11, Pathways unfolded like a hive intelligence fleshing out its own original, complex definition of beauty.