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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Nyman: Peter Greenaway film music - British Composers (Audio CD)
Not great. Quite irritating in fact. I've yet to be convinced by Micheal Nyman. The choice of instrumentation was interesting at first, any effort to successfully integrate the crumhorn into a piece is worth a nod. However, much of this collection was rather grating and cringeworthy. At first, wishing to keep an open mind, I found the repetitive strains of the music somewhat effective, with the gradually increasing intensity that resulted. This would have worked well if the composer had the courage of his convictions and hadn't so often led the listener down a rather dull path to nowhere. This collection perhaps highlights the limitations imposed by the requirements of a film score but, having listened to many superior film soundtracks, I don't think that is a sufficient defence. The score for 'The Piano' has some nice music in it, but it's a bit obvious. Try the sublime Claire Denis soundtracks by Tindersticks instead. Give Johnny Greenwood's 'There Will Be Blood' score a go. If you enjoy simple, beautiful, introspective melodies with accompanied repetitive arpeggios, Yann Tiersen is far superior. Einaudi is not far behind either.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2014 13:48:51 BDT
You do realise that neither Tiersen nor Einaudi would sound like they do without Nyman's example?

Einaudi in particular makes music that is a weak, watered down, inadequate alternative to Nyman or Glass, made to appeal to the masses. He's promoted as being some kind of minimalist genius despite being ridiculously average.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2014 15:54:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2015 06:47:32 GMT
I agree with you about Einaudi. His music is lacking in gravitas. I suggested him, perhaps foolishly, as he's a popular contemporary MOR composer. What I found so frustrating about this particular Nyman disc was the initial promise of something which wasn't MOR and yet never quite managed to leave that territory. It ended-up just getting on my nerves. I feel Yann Tiersen has more of an edge and is not so easy to dismiss as TV commercial music, but I agree that without their superior predecessors, both his, Einaudi's and a whole host of other (often boring) 'modern' composers' music would not have sounded they way it does. Composers have been ripping each other off for years. I guess its easy to forget how rare true inspiration is when your musical taste spans five centuries. Thanks for the comment.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2014 19:25:31 BDT
Slightly off topic but have you seen any of the Greenaway films for which this music was created ?

My point being that in context, the music is less likely to come across as MOR.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2014 08:59:26 BDT
Perhaps you're right. One of my points on the review was that certain scores work well both in and out of the context of the film for which they were made. This one does not. I have seen one of Greenaway's films and was nonplussed.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2014 09:42:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Mar 2016 14:30:19 GMT
I think you should Greenaway and Nyman a second chance, preferably in a cinema rather than on TV/DVD.

The Draughtsman's Contract [1982] [DVD] is the place to start and work through the films in chronological order.
My favourite is the very hard to find "Making a Splash" made for Channel 4 which is a visual/musical exploration of water.

Of course they all switch between the tricksy and the revolting, all served up with exquisite images but being"nonplussed" should be regarded as a stimulus to closer attention rather than a turn-off.

PS. I do agree about Tindersticks, Johnny G and Tiersen so I hope you can join me on Nyman, (The old Nyman band was great in concert back in the 80/90s).

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2014 12:13:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2015 06:49:59 GMT
I will give them another chance only because I have so enjoyed this exchange. On a purely egotistical note, my attention to detail when viewing or listening is often the cause of bemused astonishment from others as I don't tend to miss much and fixate obsessively on the things I feel are worthy of my attention. I tend to be drawn towards the tricksy and revolting, so I'll have to delve further. My most recent discovery in that area was the film Frida about the artist Frida Kahlo; I highly recommended it and it's another film with a superb soundtrack. Thanks for the recommendation. I enjoy listening to Counterpoint. I'll be sure to tune-in on Monday.

Posted on 5 Mar 2016 16:12:50 GMT
P.A.C. says:
A feast of mutual pretentiousness! Bravo!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2016 14:42:55 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Mar 2016 12:31:31 GMT
"Pretentiousness is interesting. At least you're making an effort.
Your ambition has to outstrip your ability at some point." (Howard Devoto.)

Perhaps you like living in a world increasingly dominated by the massed forces of social and intellectual conformism. Personally I'll take open-mindedness over negative accusations of pretentiousness every time.

"Great Negative, how vainly would the wise
Inquire, define, distinguish, teach, devise,
Didst thou not stand to point their blind philosophies!"
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