Magazine article Gramophone

Nyman: Symphonies-No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Nyman: Symphonies-No 2

Article excerpt


Symphonies--No 2; No 5

The World Orchestra / Josep Vicent

MN Records (F) MNRCD134 (50' * DDD)

Eyebrows were raised in 2014 when Michael Nyman declared his aim during the next few years to produce not just a single symphony but a projected cycle of 17. Other than Philip Glass, whose 11 symphonies have met with mixed responses, few minimalist composers have ventured into a form whose tonal push-and-pull seems antithetical to music based on repetition, circular patterns and harmonic stasis.

These are perhaps symphonies more in the spirit of Edmund Rubbra than, say, Havergal Brian. Evoking the original meaning of the word, Nyman draws upon, develops and reworks music from previous material, making his work quite literally 'sound together'. It would be misleading, though, to view these works as mere exercises in recycling. The symphony also offers Nyman a wider and more diverse expressive canvas on which to operate, as displayed in the two works featured here. Symphony No 5, composed in 2013, is dark and brooding. …

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