Michael Nyman

Film Music 1980-2001

Film Music 1980-2001

Film Music 1980-2001

Venture CDVED957
2001

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CD1

1. BIRD LIST (LIVE)
Instrumental version of a song written in 1978 for Peter Greenaway’s ‘The Falls’. Lyrics consisted of a series of bird names sung on a high A over a harmonic base of four dominant 7th chords to which that note is common.

2. CHASING SHEEP (LIVE)
Harmonically and sometimes melodically derived from an instrumental interlude from Purcell’s ‘The Fairy Queen’.

3. AN EYE FOR OPTICAL THEORY
Although all the music from ‘The Draughtsman’s Contract’ was derived from Purcell, the ground bass on which this piece is built I subsequently discovered to have been written by a lesser-known contemporary.

4. HOMAGE TO MAURICE
In 1984 Maurice Hatton invited me to write the music for ‘Nelly’s Version’. He had already added a temp track to the film - Bernard Herrmann’sscore for ‘Psycho’ - which explains the character of this track. This new version is dedicated to the memory of Maurice.

5. ANGELFISH DECAY
Subsequently played a major role in ‘Childs Play’, a score written for Lucinda Childs’ dancework ‘Portraits in Reflection’.

6. TIME LAPSE
Based on music from Biber’s ‘Requiem’ 7-9. As is well-known, the whole soundtrack for ‘Drowning by Numbers’ was a development of material from the slow movement of Mozart’s ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ for violin and viola. Various different melodic and harmonic features from this rich source are explored in these three tracks.

7. TRYSTING FIELDS
?is a ‘cutup’ of all the ‘appoggiatura’ material scattered throughout the movement while

8. WHEELBARROW WALK
?is based on Mozart’s delicious closing theme (which I first used as the intertitle music in ‘The Falls’) as is the end of?

9. KNOWING THE ROPES
?which is, like ‘Trysting Fields’, another sequential melodic cutup.

10. MEMORIAL
Sourced directly from the ‘Frozen Music’ from Purcell’s ‘King Arthur’ ‘Memorial’ was originally part of a larger work of the same name written in 1985 in memory of the Juventus fans who died at Heysel Stadium.

11. SKATING
Patrice Leconte (like Peter Greenaway in ‘Drowning by Numbers’) suggested using material from Brahms’s Piano Quartet No.1 Op.25 as the basis of some of the score for ‘Monsieur Hire’.

12. PEEKING
The temp track that Leconte laid on Monsiuer Hire includes music from Drowning by Numbers…......

13 & 14. ABANDONING & SKIRTING
Orchestral music for the lead male character was used alongside Algerian dance music for his childhood memories.

15. MIRANDA PREVISITED
An earlier version of Miranda from ‘Prospero’s Books’ written in 1989 for La Travers?e de Paris -  an exhibition commemorating the bicentenary of the French Revolution.

16. HERE TO THERE
A short recomposition of track

17 - THE HEART ASKS PLEASURE FIRST/THE PROMISE
a setting of the Scottish traditional song Bonny Winter’s noo awa’.

18. ALL IMPERFECT THINGS
More drowning music, but this time not based on Mozart.

19. DREAMS OF A JOURNEY
End title music encapsulating the Scottish source material of some parts of The Piano soundtrack.

CD2

1. ESCAPE
A la Folie was the first film that I scored after The Piano. Although it, too, was directed by a woman, its contemporary setting, mostly in a small apartment in Paris, with three characters in an incestuous pseudo-psychological drama took me into a musical world as far away from The Piano as possible.

2 &3. FLY DRIVE & THE INFINITE COMPLEXITIES OF CHRISTMAS

English 1920’s and 30’s country style without resorting to pastiche or known musical models.

4. IF
My most curious project of the 1990s - a Japanese animated film of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. Roger Pulvers wrote two texts which demanded the only genuine songs I have written for film (apart from the ‘lost’ song in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover).

5. ABEL CARRIES EPHRAIM
Volker Schlondorff’s ‘The Ogre’ gave me my first (and last) opportunity to dispense with strings. Based on Michel Tournier’s Le Roi des Aulnes (The Erl King) its Nazi setting enabled me not only to experiment with different tone colours, but also with an unfamiliar set of musical references.

6,7,8 & 9. BECOMING JEROME/GOD’S HANDS, THE MORROW, THE OTHER SIDE & THE DEPARTURE
Just as ‘The Ogre’ featured a scene where a young boy’s ethnic suitably was measured, so ‘Gattaca’, with its vision of a genetic underclass reflect the primary interest of my opera ‘Facing Goya’, first performed in 2000 but begun, as ‘Vital Statistics’, in 1987, immediately after my first, neurological, opera ‘The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat’. The director, Andrew Niccol, insisted on music full of human warmth in contrast to the cool look of my only sci-fi film and its chilling subject matter.

10. CONVENING THE COVEN
‘Practical Magic’, my second Hollywood film - Griffin Dunne’s film was released without my soundtrack.

11&12. STRANGER AT THE WINDOW & CANNIBAL FANTASY
Antonia Bird’s glorification of cannibalism allowed me to pursue (at Damon Albarn’s - my co-composer - instigation) a marginally enlarged sonic vocabulary while remaining faithful, in ‘Stranger at the Window’, with the baroque descending chromatic bass line familiar from ‘The Garden is Becoming a Robe Room’ from ‘The Draughtsman’s Contract’.

13.14,15 &16. MOLLY, EDDIE, DAN & EILEEN
Michael Winterbottom used The Piano as a temp track. That lyricism was totally unsuitable for the director’s special viewpoint on London street life, but this lyricism worked miraculously with his images.

17&18. SARAH DIES & THE END OF THE AFFAIR
Adding a few measures of sex and sensuality to Neil Jordan’s ‘The End of the Affair’.

19. THE SHOOTOUT
Crudely speaking ‘Miranda meets Morricone’ - a homage to the Italian master.

20. THE BURNING
My most extended quasi-operatic cinematic ‘scena’ with an obvious reference to Memorial thrown in. Originally designed to accompany the burning of a town, a wedding and a frozen death, it was relegated to accompany the end titles.

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