Michael Nyman

An Eye for a Difference

An Eye for a Difference

Tring TRING007
1998

London Saxophonic
Tim Redpath, sopranino and soprano saxophones
Simon Haram, sopranino, soprano and alto saxophones and electric wind instrument
Rob Buckland, soprano and alto saxophones
Christian Forshaw, sopranino, soprano and alto saxophones
Andy Findon, bass saxophone and piccolo
Elizabeth Burley, piano
Martin Elliott, bass guitar
Chris Caldwell, baritone saxophone
Will Gregory, alto and baritone saxophones
Gareth Brady, alto, tneor and baritone saxophones
Andrew Scott, tenor saxophone
David Roach, soprano, alto and tenor saxophones

Some might find it strange that after thirteen years of playing one man’s music in every conceivable situation that I could harbor a bruning desire to return to the recording studio to make a disc of that music. Stranger still that this disc is not a disc of first recordings, but a journey through music I know intimately, a retrospective for both of us.

‘An eye for a difference’ has been fuelled by a deep respect for this mlusic, a love of the singular twist of classic harmony, the hardedged romanticism and pumping rhuthm which have become synonymous with te word ‘Nyman’. Moreover, after years of playing this extraordinary music the members of the Michael Nyman Band have developed a distinct style and a strong sense of how Nyman works; and through an intimate knowledge of each piece’s complexities, of how to resolve the paradoxes within the music for ourselves.

My fellow producer on this disc is Will Gregory. It was Will who planted the seeds for this venture; fired by his participation in performances and recordings in Brussels with the MNB in 1989, he suggested an arrangement for London Saxophonic which we performed and recorded as an experiment. In Michael Nyman’s original scoring the interplay between strings, saxes and brass created a layered sound which allowed individual strands to be heard through differences in tone colour, ut the blending nature of London Saxophonic unveiled an aspect of the music I had never before experienced. The impression unfolded of one giant instrument, sometimes clamourous, sometimes sweet but balanced in a way no other ensemble would achieve. I knew that we had discovered a wonderful combination -Nyman and London Saxophonic- and from that moment I felt compelled to make this recording.

I was keen to include certain memebers of the MNB in this project. Andrew Findon, Martin Elliott and I have held such close views about Nyman’s music for so long now that I could not conceive of a recording without them; they are the bass end powerhouse so distinctly part of the ‘Nyman’ sound. Simon Haram, Chris Caldwell and Rob Buckland are also occasional members of the band, providsing a wealth of prior understanding to the performances.

For me, Michael Nyman’s most trenchant and emotive music concerns the human struggle against great odds. He has always described these realities most eloquently, in particular the Heysel Stadium and Armenian earthquake disasters and subsequently the Romanian revolution of 1989 (the original subject matter for ‘Outside Looking In’). Far beyong the ‘riffing and honking’ and the sheer pleasure of playing so hard, it is this artistry that has inspired my devotion to his music.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all members of the Michael Nyman Band, past and present, who have helped create a style of playing Michael’s music during many years of recording and touring.

David Roach
June 1997

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