Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Nyman/Greenaway Soundtracks (Venture - VEBN 55)

Just a couple of weeks ago, I have reviewed one of the soundtracks of Michael Nyman which he has composed for Peter Greenaway's film "Drowning By Numbers". It was an exceptional work which was built over Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra. Now time has come to review a collective of these soundtracks. This box set includes four works of Michael Nyman which he has composed/reworked for the films of Peter Greenaway.

The related films are The Draughtman's Contract, A Zed And Two Noughts, Drowning By Numbers, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover. Frankly I will not go into very much detail as it would take a really long time to cover all three soundtracks (Drowning By Numbers is already reviewed). There are some similarities between the soundtracks like The Draughtman's Contract was also derived from another composer's work. All tracks on that soundtrack are reworks of Henry Purcell's songs. One difference to the composition technique was that in this album, each track was reworked from a different piece while in the case of Drowning By Numbers, all tracks were reworks of a single piece.

All the albums have a dark, yer energetic feeling to them. Death comes to mind more than once on any given soundtrack while rapid flow of movements can be witnessed. The most flamboyant of them all in terms of energy is A Zed And Two Noughts and even that soundtrack has some parts with real thick air to it. Heavy emotional settings have always been a strong side of Nyman and all throughout these soundtracks, we can view it to full effect. One thing that is missing can be named as watching the films alongside. This is actually of great importance due to the composing style of Nyman himself. Music and the film are quite inseperable from each other when he is the subject.

Nyman is known to be a composer who wants to have a say over how the music will be positioned in a film. Greenaway also comments that Nyman has bargained for the position of his music since he has been a firm believer that music and the scenes should totally blend into each other. Only one song in all these four albums have been recorded prior to making of the film and that was due to the need for the song to be sung in a scene. Otherwise, Nyman solely wrote the pieces for the movies itself. In all these aspects, we can find obvious similarities between Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. This may also be the reason why they are overly efficient and effective in the music they write for films. Hence this box set is a collection which needs a special place in any collector's "first things to be saved during flooding or fire" list.

To buy this box set:

@ Discogs

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