Nyman: Time Will Pronounce – The 1992 Commissions

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WORKS: Time Will Pronounce – The 1992 Commissions
PERFORMER: James Bowman (countertenor), Virginia Black (harpsichord); Fretwork, Trio of London, London Brass
Nyman is a prolific composer; the four chamber works on this new disc all date from one six-month period in 1992. They are commissions from musicians not normally associated with Nyman’s music or contemporary music generally. All four works demonstrate how far Nyman’s musical language has developed from his earlier style of (apparently) simple tunes, chugging bass, insistent beat and loud dynamics. Now, not infrequently, there are lengthy introspective passages with a wide harmonic range. But Nyman ‘hallmarks’ remain – repetition of notes and sections, moments of unbounding exuberance, and a remarkable ear for instrumental colour. Self-Laudatory Hymn of Inanna and her Omnipotence is an unabashed vehicle for the hooting and haunting voice of the countertenor James Bowman, accompanied by the nimble viol ensemble Fretwork. The Convertibility of Lute Strings for solo harpsichord, perhaps the most interesting work of the four, receives a dazzling performance from Virginia Black. The title of Nyman’s piano trio Time will pronounce is taken from Joseph Brodsky’s poem on the horrors of Bosnia; sobriety alternates with cheerful rollicking, well executed by the Trio of London. For John Cage is performed with notable brilliance by London Brass. Annette Morreau