Film Music of Michael Nyman For Solo Piano/Park
May 12, 2013
Continuing her series on performing soundtrack material for solo piano Joohyun Park chose the minimalist composer Michael Nyman offering selections from seven different films including his award winning film The Piano (seven tracks) as well as material from Carrington, The Diary of Anne Frank, Drowning By Numbers, Enemy Zero, A Zed & Two Noughts, and Gattaca. Her previous album The Music of Battlestar Galactica, I found to be quite stimulating, well performed and recorded. She has also contributed to two compilation albums Goldsmith Rarities and Halloween Horror Hits also for BSX.
Although we must consider The Piano to be his soundtrack that gave him name recognition with the general public Nyman has stayed quite busy with composing, having done over 40 films. In fact when he was a critic in the 70’s he coined the phrase minimalist as the style of his way of writing music. Like his contemporary Philip Glass each track is based on the repetition and gradual alteration of short rhythmic statements that may also be melodic phrases. My first encounter with this minimalist type of style was quite negative as I thought it was little more than a series of chords which somehow didn’t seem to connect together. I also thought it was a twelve tone style which also made no sense to me at all. But perseverance and listening to many different works has changed my outlook and today I can say that I rather enjoy listening to this style of music. If your new to this style of music give it a chance and you may very well change your mind like I did.
The first six selections are from The Piano and will take you through the full gamut of emotions. It begins with “Big My Secret” which is a joyous and bright major key melody filled with endless chords. “Silver Fingered Fling” begins quietly with a melody that is repeated but quickly changes to forceful staccato chords of suppressed emotion before returning to a quiet period hinting at her roots. “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” definitely has Scottish feelings conveying her emotions with the two suitors in her life. Carefree, frolicking, and gaiety are the words to describe “Ship and Tides” from the film Drowning By Numbers. I’ve included this track as an audio clip. The complete opposite is true of “If” from the Japanese animated film The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a somber example of Nyman played in a dirge tempo with a deathlike quality. The track from Carrington, “Fly Drive” passes all too quickly (52 seconds) and is somewhat in a similar style to “Ships and Tides.” Since I’m not a ‘gamer’ the two tracks from Enemy Zero made little sense to me other than it is not something that I would expect to hear. “Tomorrow” from Gattaca is a return to the “If” style with less emphasis on the dirge tempo but still quite somber. “Departure” is also a quiet reflective kind of piece similar to “Tomorrow.” Not having seen the film a colleague pointed out it was somewhat bland compared to the original which doesn’t surprise me given the minimalist approach of Park on this CD.
Good speakers or headphones will bring out the finely tuned piano of Park’s which enhances this recording even more. While this recording is not for everyone’s taste people who know and appreciate Nyman will find this CD stimulating.
1… Big My Secret (2:46)
2… The Mood That Passes Through You (2:03)
3… Deep Sleep Playing (2:16)
4… Silver Fingered Fling (3:45)
5… The Attraction of the Pedaling Ankle (6:00)
6… The Heart Asks Pleasure First (2:34)
7… Fly Drive (0:52)
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
8… If (5:08)
9… The School Room (2:58)
DROWNING BY NUMBERS
10… Ship and Titles (2:22) (AUDIO CLIP)
11… Digital Tragedy (1:06)
12… Love (2:50)
ZED & TWO NOUGHTS
13… Time Lapse (3:33)
14… Tomorrow (3:13)
15… Departure (2:47)
16… Lost and Found (2:33)
TOTAL TIME IS 46:39