For sound quality alone, this is one of the best Nyman collections of music used for films, sounding far more dynamic and energised than Decca's The World Of Michael Nyman, with which it shares some older pieces. The music here was used in six Peter Greenaway films, but as the notes stress, not written for them, but chosen by Greenaway prior to filming.
There are some lovely, pulsing, insistent pieces here, including the hypnotic 'Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds', 'Fish Beach' and 'Synchronising', which all share an irresistible joyous bounce. Darker colours can also be found here, especially 'Miserere Paraphrase' from the doomed timeline of 'The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover', with the music embracing a sorrowful pleading. The music selected here covers ten years of the Michael Nyman Band, from pieces used in the Machiavellian 'Draightsman's Contract', to the more redemptive and elegiac 'Prospero's Books'.
There are some big hitters among the band, including some electrifying violin by Alexander Balanescu, insistent, arcing sax work from John Harle, colourful keyboard support from John Lenahan, and haunting vocal richness from Sarah Leonard on the darker, later pieces. The insistent refrain of much of Nyman's work has a hidden complexity, which means you're unlikely to tire of it, and this collection provides much rich variety.
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This CD contains all of Michael Nyman's best tracks ever made, ranging from "Time Lapse" to "Fish Beach". Some of these you may remember or you may not. This is definitely though a CD to get and is a perfect compliment to your CD collection. It is also quite good for new classical music listeners. Nyman's music is incredibly detailed and coursely textured, with the pieces using a whole range of different instruments, for Sax to Cello. Some of it is fast-moving, some not. There is a whole range of different styles on this CD. The Nyman band have certainly played these pieces to perfection. No two tracks are the same, and you will quickly love his totally different and unique style. Some of the pieces you will recognize, some you won't. "Time Lapse" is my particular favourite, with its intricate and complex structure, though I feel other pieces come quite close. "Chasing sheep is best left to shepards" is also quite good, with a typical Monarchy style, like you're at Buckingham Palace; and a very upper-class style. "Prawn Watching" is face-paced and has a unusual minor twist in it. The pieces all feature a certain mysterious quality, like a spirit or a Holy Appriration. You can just imagine scenes in your head of slow Romance, or Spirituality. However, you wont get bored easily, as with 13 tracks, and a whole host of melodies, you'll be coming back for more.
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An established contemporary classic in its time with unusual instruments like sackbuts (a kind of medieval wind instrument akin to a saxophone) and other wonderful 'odd sounds' woven by Michael Nyman, along with some stirring choral workings from the Songstress Joan Sutherland (I think) in 'Memorial', will have your hair standing on end. In a word - fantastic! Wow!