Virgin Records America (7245 5 45472 2 5)
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by Michael Nyman
The Michael Nyman Orchestra
|2.||The First Encounter|
|6.||The Fiery House|
|8.||The Firework Display|
|10.||The Shoot Out|
|11.||The Death of Elena|
|14.||The Snowy Death|
|Track lengths not available for this album. If you have track length/time information for this album, please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the database.|
|by James Barry
May 10, 2003
These days, Michael Nyman seems to be falling into two different stylistic categories: he of the concert composer who's still in a mood to play around and experiment, creating pieces like "The Commissar Vanishes and the String Quartet No. 4, and he of the film score, whose style is more lived-in. Even with all of the "Nyman-isms" that make his work so easily distinguishable, though, Nyman always manages to impress me with his ability to create melodic, accessible new scores, and The Claim is no exception.
Working again with Wonderland director Michael Winterbottom, Nyman again produces some of his most heart-wrenchingly beautiful work. As a matter of fact, the introductory track here manages to outshine even that of Wonderland, with a haunting melody performed by the Michael Nyman Orchestra and wordless female voice (oddly, the only performer on the album who is uncredited). This theme and that presented in track 2 provide most of the basis of the score. "The Shoot Out" features a motif derived from the score to Prospero's Books, but it is put to good use. "The Explanation" is a nigh-tear-jerking cue, with the vocal returning for another round. The centerpiece of the score is "The Burning," a nearly ten minute piece which is alternately boisterous, depressing, and suspenseful. "The Closing" features a solo cello line whose melodic contours serve to further distance this score from the label of "minimalism."
Let it be known that this review is hardly unbiased. I have been an unapologetic fan of Michael Nyman for several years, and with one exception, seem to recall having liked everything he's written - and loved most of it. Still, this score ranks in the upper tier of his film work; a tier occupied by the likes of Drowning By Numbers and Gattaca, among others. This is a fine album, and a sound investment.
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