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Drowning By Numbers: Music From The Motion Picture
Format: Audio CDChange
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2003
I came across this work by accident, and was astonished by the quality of this music - and the fact that it seems to have been overlooked by just about everyone! What we have is a series of interrelated pieces inspired by a movement from Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. Some pieces are of hypnotic quality - others insistantly rhythmic. As a work, its eminently listenable and (unlike some of the other reviewers) - I'm a tough critic as I don't really like most of Nyman's work, as I find it too crude and repetitative for my taste. This work is pure minimalism - as austere as Glass in places - in others lyrical, hypnotic and supremely beautiful - as well as being highly unusual. I simply cannot understand why this piece has not gained a place among his best known pieces and highest rated works - Prospero's Books and the like - unless it stems from its origin as a film score. This label should be ignorred, as this is a well structured and highly accomplished work that deserves proper recognition. It is Nyman at his very very best.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2000
I am a VERY big Nyman fan, and I speak from experience when I say that this is one of his most impressive works, if not THE most. It is absolutely beautiful, based on Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin & Viola K.364. I have heard all of the other Greenaway soundtracks, most of the other soundtracks incl. new ones (Cold Room, A La Folie, Carrington, Piano, Gattaca, Wonderland, End Of Affair, Hairdresser's Husband, Ogre, etc.), and I have heard almost all of his solo music (Kiss etc., Concertos, String Quartets, Piano Concerto + MGV, Songbook, Noises Sounds Sweet Airs, Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, And Do The Do/Zoo Caprices, Suit and the Photograph, etc.), and this work ranks among the very highest of all of them. Although I recommend all of Nyman's work, this has to come pretty high in the list. ....one of the finest audio delights you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2007
I find it difficult to believe that no one has taken it upon themselves to review this extraordinary work and consider it a privilige to be the first person invited to do so.
I first became aware of Michael Nyman having been to see Peter Greenaway's Draughtsman Contract for which Nyman also composed the score. Although the film impressed me it was Drowning by Numbers that really moved me,both film and music. The film is excellent in its own right,but it is the music that makes it a masterpeice , and no doubt, some would argue vice versa. Invariably, soundtracks pale into insignificance when listened to without the film they were intended to accompany, not so this one, each track is a belter. It is debateable as to whether it is best to listen to the music on its own or as an accompaniment to the film itself, but this is mere technicality, my advice is do both and often.
Reading the liner notes to the album might be enough to put off all but the most ardent intellectual, but there is no doubting the passion of the man. The insistence of Mozart's 'stunning melody' from the Sinfonia Concertante for violin,viola and orchestra which refuses to go away yet never bores us, reminiscent of Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, yet if anything more vital. This is music to make the heart both soar and weep at times yet so redemptive and inspiring as to go far beyond sorrow or indulgence. His passion is also transferred to the football terraces as evidenced in his reference to 'the 39 Juventus fans killed in 1985' and as such, he represents a rare marriage between the beautiful game and beautiful art.
I was lucky enough to see him perform this work live some years back. I remember him hugging as many of the band as he could at the end and no doubt he would have worked his way round the audience if he'd had time
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2001
Probably the most consistent of the Greenaway soundtracks, this is an aural delight from beginning to end. Less frantic than 'A Zed and Two Noughts', lighter in tone than 'The Cook, etc', and more polished than 'The Draughtsman's Contract', it's based heavily on cut-up, altered extracts of Mozart, although I know nothing about Mozart and can't comment on the faithfulness or otherwise of the adaptations. It's very floaty and melancholy, and as I remember it fitted the film perfectly, being both gorgeous and slightly odd, although after seeing the film it has a melancholy air to it.
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on 20 August 2014
Excellent soundtrack along the lines of Nyman's "The Draughtsman's Contract" but with a slightly nautical flavour reflecting the film settings, it having being shot at locations around Sole Bay in Suffolk. Peter Greenaways film contains excellent acting by Brian Pringle, Bernard Hill, Joan Plowright and Joely Richardson as well as superb entomological work and sets created by Jonathan Young.
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on 23 December 2014
I like this composer but I feel that this is not his best work. However, that is only my opinion.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2009
Nyman, along with Greenaway, seems to be one of those half-forgotten geniuses. And wrongly so. I hadn't listened to this album in an age, though I am not sure why. And one play through had it haunting me for days. I've gone back to it again and again, like some sweet, half-remembered dream.

There simply isn't a false note anywhere, and some of the tracks - notably 'Wheelbarrow Walk' and 'Drowning by Number 3' - are so achingly beautiful that you can hardly believe they're not more widely heard. 'Sheep and Tides' is nearly as memorable, along with 'Knowing the Ropes' and the closing strains of 'Endgame'. This really is an album to immerse yourself in again and again, and one I will treasure until the end of my days.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2010
This is not a bad CD, it's just that I don't like it; too wandereee, like a Greenaway movie! You pays your money...
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