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Michael Nyman and David McAlmont -- Scotsman review - by Fiona Shepherd

Oct 19th, 2010

MICHAEL NYMAN WITH DAVID McALMONT

CITY HALLS, GLASGOW

****

By HIS own admission in the pre-show talk, composer Michael Nyman writes “tunes” and some of his very best were aired during this concert of two halves.

The first half featured a loud, invigorating selection of his audaciously stylised soundtrack
work for Peter Greenaway’s films.

The urgency and relentless momentum of the material made great physical demands on the players but the sheer gusto of Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds outweighed the slightly chaotic delivery, while the soprano saxophone refrain snaking insistently through An Eye For Optical Theory and the irresistible feral force of Miranda were riveting.

In the second half, Nyman unveiled a new and unexpected collaboration, forged through Facebook of all places, with the stunning yet underrated British soul singer David McAlmont, who has added his somewhat eccentric lyrics to existing Nyman works.

McAlmont arrived with bling on his fingers and a marvellous instrument to add to the mix, though one could argue that Nyman’s exquisite theme from The Piano needs no adornment.

At first, on Take the Money and Run, it sounded like McAlmont would have to fight his corner, using crisp phrasing rather than his usual sumptuous delivery to stay on top of the music.

Soon enough though, his vocal melodies were dancing over the insistent strings or reclining gracefully over a tremulous piano ballad.

And, although generally less idiosyncratic than the Greenaway partnership, Nyman and McAlmont have created, with In Rai Don Giovanni, surely the only composition ever to combine the influence of Mozart and The Scissor Sisters.

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