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Michael Nyman: Yamamoto Perpetuo

Chase Spruill (violin) (Supertrain)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Michael Nyman
Yamamoto Perpetuo
Chase Spruill (violin)
Supertrain Records STR 008   40:08 mins

A welcome yet frustrating release. Yamamoto Perpetuo is a 12-movement work for solo violin lasting about 40 minutes, initially written by Michael Nyman in 1993 for a fashion show by Yohji Yamamoto. The only other recording, by Alexander Balanescu, only had a limited release, so this spritely new version from Chase Spruill is the first to be widely available. It is a pity, then, that the simple cardboard sleeve contains no information whatsoever about the piece beyond its name.

The music will be familiar to anyone who knows Nyman’s String Quartet No. 4, as it was used in its entirety as the first violin part. As usual with Nyman, short ideas are repeated, varied and developed in his own engaging brand of minimalism, with neither the individual movements nor the work as a whole outstaying its welcome. Spruill’s energetic approach is well-suited to the prevalence of motoric movements with great spirit. Nor is he afraid to add touches of individuality, lingering a little at key points in the more lyrical undulations of the 11th piece. The very close recording creates a great sense of presence, but also magnifies the few strained passages. Nonetheless, Spruill is an engaging and convincing advocate.

Christopher Dingle