Michael Nyman

Acts of Beauty / Exit no Exit

Acts of Beauty / Exit no Exit

Acts of Beauty / Exit no Exit

MN Records Ltd (MNRCD109)

Cristina Zavalloni soprano
Sentieri Selvaggi
Carlo Boccadoro conductor

EXIT no EXIT - Premiere recording
Andrew Sparling bass clarinet
Nyman Quartet
Music composed by Michael Nyman

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The Music:

The MN Records catalogue is significantly enriched with a second set of CDs to add to the 6 released in 2005. Two major albums are released on 24 July featuring Nyman’s non-operatic vocal music:
Six Celan Songs/The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi and Acts of Beauty/Exit no Exit are new recordings that present compelling examples of Nyman’s vibrant approach to word-setting, song structure and subject matter.

The album Acts of Beauty/Exit no Exit couples two world premiere recordings.

Acts of Beauty is a song cycle based on miscellaneous texts on beauty from a 1556 text of Vincenzo Cartari, which looks at the measurements of beauty by comparing buttocks to beauty in the urban environment as viewed by Kurt Scwitters and Dzuga Vertov to Martial’s Epigrams on another kind of sexual measurement: the weighing of penis. It presents an entirely different Nyman approach to vocal writing than is found in Six Celan Songs/The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi.

Exit no Exit began life as Beckham Crosses, Nyman Scores, a ‘homage’ to the England football team as part of an extended documentary broadcast on BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the end of the World Cup finals in Japan/Korea in 2002. Nyman decided to take extracts from John Motson’s commentary to the England v Argentina match and sample, loop and ‘instrumentalise’ them in the manner of Steve Reich’s Different Trains: translating the loops repeating rhythmic and melodic patterns played without variation.

Rewritten for the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company in 2006, John Motson’s voice is now replaced with a bass clarinet which not only imitates the commentator’s highly idiosyncratic speech patterns, but also takes off from these with a concertante part of some virtuosity. A completely new, multi-section closing 10 minutes sequence was written specially for Exit no Exit, premiered on 7 February 2006 at Brighton’s Gardner Arts Centre.

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