Nyman: The Ogre – extracts; The Libertine – extracts; The Draughtsman’s Contract: ‘Chasing Sheep’; In Re Don Giovanni

COMPOSERS: Nyman
LABELS: MN Records
ALBUM TITLE: Nyman
WORKS: The Ogre – extracts; The Libertine – extracts; The Draughtsman’s Contract: ‘Chasing Sheep’; In Re Don Giovanni
PERFORMER: Nyman Brass/Nyman
CATALOGUE NO: MNR CD110
The own-label presence suggests Nyman likes the idea, and in the notes he proposes that the original Nyman Band sound is closer to brass bands than rock bands. Mind you, he also thinks the music sounds edgier here. To my ears, the genre’s comfort-food glow softens the attack, makes the pulsations subtler and warms the exuberance. In Re Don Giovanni has a party-piece brilliance, and ‘Chasing Sheep’ takes on a portly grandeur with a pounding heart.

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Without doubt, it’s infectious music-making, but the headline content comes from The Ogre, a 1996 Volker Schlondorff study of innocence in Nazi Germany. Initially for brass and saxes, the music needed little major rescoring. It begins in medieval style and soon adds a fanfare figure, presumably representing the period ethos and rather outstaying its welcome. There’s some mellower lyricism and a strong processional finale with progressions oddly like Philip Glass.

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The Libertine, Laurence Dunmore’s racy but poorly reviewedcostume drama, had a Nyman Band soundtrack which is already available. Here a selected suite undergoes radical transformation, with a long haunting cornet solo and a powerful chaconne-style accumulation. Robert Maycock