WORKS: Assorted piano works
PERFORMER: Ksenia Bashmet (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: QTZ 2069
The 23 pieces come from Nyman’s soundtracks, following the wistful, lyrical line familiar since The Piano rather than the pumping energy of his band scores for Peter Greenaway. In these expansive, eloquent performances they make a fascinating complement to Nyman’s own sequence in The Piano Sings, the first release on his own label, which consists of 15 of the same pieces in a different running order.
You can rely on the composer to find an edgy intensity in the most unassuming of them. Ksenia Bashmet, however, often brings out a soulfulness and even, in the spacious calm and depth of tone of the Anne Frank excerpts, a quiet grandeur that suggests late Beethoven as an influence I hadn’t heard before.
Another alternative for home pianists is to weigh in with their own ideal versions, as most of the pieces are in the published volume also called The Piano Collection and a modest technique can do a surprising amount of justice. Recorded sound from the Great Hall of the Gnessin Music College in Moscow is warm but clear. Robert Maycock