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Michael Nyman

Drowning by Numbers

Format: CD   Release Date: 04/06/2004
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Having already scored a few successful soundtracks for director Peter Greenaway, composer Michael Nyman applies his minimalist and romantic art to the director's 1988 release Drowning By Numbers. While not as provocative as future Greenaway collaborations like The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover and Prospero's Books, this disc contains enough solid material to keep the Nyman faithful satisfied. Taking the slow movement from Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra as inspiration (a piece Greenaway had suggested), Nyman concocts a series of fetching variations that both reflect the luminous buoyancy of the original and come off as very original pieces in their own right. Nyman again enlists his crack band to handle the horn and string proceedings. Along with members of the Balanescu Quartet, the large ensemble features a variety of horn players, including standout tenor saxophonist John Harle. Nyman plays piano and conducts. The group stealthily works through a mix of string-only pieces, brass numbers, and full-band cuts, consistently keeping Nyman's mix of elegiac and stuttering minimalism afloat. A fine addition to Nyman's soundtrack catalog. ~ Stephen Cook, Rovi

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