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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The score written by Michael Nyman for Michael Winterbottom's film "Wonderland" is one of the most simple and yet sublime pieces I've ever heard. It is incredible the way that Nyman expresses such intense emotions from seemingly so simple and probably unpromising materials.
This is mature Nyman at his best, far from the dazzling neo-baroque exercises for the Greenaway films (great they were indeed), the british composer writes now in a less spectacular manner but defintively in a deeper and more senstitive way. His orchestrations are here delightfully thin, almost ethereal (relying mostly on strings), while some piano solo's become pristine poetry.
With Wonderland Nyman has achievd beauty in simplicity, with music that goes, rather than to our ears ... straight to our hearts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2004
This is somewhat different to Nyman’s other soundtracks, only in as much that the use of music throughout Winterbottom’s masterpiece is conceptual… in that each character has their own tune assigned to them, which then reoccurs in various re-arrangements whenever that character appears throughout. This is pretty obvious from the titles of the selections featured herein. However, this means that many of the tracks don’t gel as well as say, the soundtrack to The End of the Affair, in which we actually get a sense of the film’s themes through the continual playing of Nyman’s music.
Here the compositions are, for the most part, much shorter than what Nyman is know for (thinking specifically about works like Miranda from Prospero’s Books or Memorial from the Cook the Thief...) often clocking in at around the three of four minute mark. This makes the composer’s melancholic production easier to take, as the music becomes a reflection of the misery of the film with its reliance on mournful string arrangements built around a minimal piano composition. Though it’s is epic in it’s own right, this is a much more intimate work than the score for say, The Piano, and certainly reflects more of the lyrical poetry found in Winterbottom’s film.
This is a lovely collection of compositions following on in the more humanistic design established on his soundtrack for the early Gattaca that are certainly worth you’re attention. It may be more demanding than the early (fun) works such as A Zed & Two Noughts and the Draughtsman’s Contract, but it’s certainly an important part of Nyman’s evolution as a one of the greatest neo-classical composers of the last century... and a worth addition to your CD collection. P.S. don’t forget to see the film as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2000
I an not one to usually buy film soundtracks ... they rarely have the same impact away from the context they were originally used in. However, as the credits went up for Wonderland, and my emotions started slotting back into place, one thought stayed clear within my head ... "I need this piece of piano music". It was simply one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard.
And so, two days later, the soundtrack arrived on my desk, and has not been out of my machine since. All the tracks are loosly based around the same theme, so the CD itself explores various different aspects of the emotions this theme can conjure, and it is simply a beautiful, heart rendering emotional journey.
And that piano piece, track 11, "franklyn", well, in the two days I have had this CD, it has provided the most appropriate backdrop to the emotional landsacape of certain recent events ...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2000
I have a slight bias towards Michael Nyman - I worship the ground he walks upon and enjoy all of his music almost before I have had time to think about it. However, this score has wide-reaching appeal, unlike some of Nyman's more obscure works. Basically, his work falls into two categories: music for everyone, and music for Nymanites like myself. This particular work is lush and stringy, and never harsh-sounding or difficult to appreciate. For other examples of Nyman's more accessible work, try Gattaca, the even-newer End of The Affair, Carrington and of course The Piano.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2000
Nyman's lush strings-based soundtrack provides an emotional centre to the film Wonderland, providing a counterpoint of beauty to what is often a gritty, downbeat film. While listening to the CD does not have the same overwhelming emotional impact as listening to the music as part of the film, this music certainly stands alone - not to the same extent as did the soundtrack of The Piano, perhaps, though this is of a similar ilk. But see the film as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 1999
Oh - this music is a joy! When I first unpacked the CD from Amazons wrapper and put it in the player I didn't think I'd be playing it back to back 6 times.
It is romantically melodic with none of the irritating repetitions or discordant clashes sometimes found in Nymans work.
Symphonically Elgar-like it makes you feel so good. This music is my favourite of all Nyman's works. It truly is Wonderful
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2004
Quite simply this is the most sublime and heart achingly beautiful soundtrack I have ever heard. It will transport you completely. I saw the film and was struck by the music - and to listen to it again is rapturous. I can't recommend this highly enough. Don't be put off if you don't like The Piano music - I don't particularly. But if you like film scores like Glory then you'll love this.
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