Notes & Reviews:
Often, known only for his work on the soundtrack of "The Piano", Michael Nyman, in this exciting DVD, introduces the world to his impressive depth and diversity as a composer. As performed by his self-titled band, The Michael Nyman Band, this powerful and energetic album combines music of many different forms (ballet, opera, film music, and orchestral works) with creative combination of instruments.
Notes & Reviews:
Run Time: 86 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Almost as good as being there!
Michael Nyman is best known as the composer of the soul stirring soundtrack to the Jane Campion film, "The Piano". Even people who may not know his name have probably heard at least a bit of that particular soaring, beautiful Scottish inflected music featuring, of course, the piano. Michael Nyman, composer, though; has been around for a long time producing music that is minimalist in its template, completely tonal in its vocabulary and high energy in its sound. It is frequently loud, fast and energizing to some, confrontational to others. I first became aware of Nyman and a fan - I admit - with his film score to the Peter Greenaway film "The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, her Lover". That and so many other film scores with Nyman established that he had a unique compositional voice; one that simultaneously is grounded in the minimal approach but which also pays homage to early masters, such as Handel, Purcell, even Mozart. This is the concert disc of a terrific two DVD set from Art Haus in which we are introduced to a bit of Michael Nyman, the man, and his background. The Nyman sound has been called bold; it has been called shameful for its loud, rhythmically insistent palate and its use of the Baroque and Classical as points of departure. I like it and have for thirty years! I find the documentary fascinating but the real bonus is the concert disc. The 11 piece Michael Nyman band plays live on the second DVD at the London Studio Halle, performing sixteen of Nyman's works, including the first performance of his Handel inspired "Musicologist Scores". I do not see how anyone can watch this concert and not admire at least the physical workout required of his ensemble. It is quite exciting; sheer fun, to watch the kinetics involved with his string players (who admit to occasional tendinitis!) or his astonishing saxophone and brass section members who almost explode at times. I think special kudos are in order to David Roach who must blast his way through non-stop baritone sax parts to then pick up a piccolo and warble delicately without missing a beat! If you do like Nyman and his music, this is a must have! If you do not know Nyman; it is a must see! If you think you do not like Nyman, watch this entirely then decide. This set partially fulfills for me a life long ambition to see his band live. As I said in my review of the whole Art Haus set: Michael, please come to play in America. I am so there!
Submitted on 09/19/11 by Dan Coombs