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Michael Nyman

Publisher: Chester Music

An Eye for Optical Theory (The Draughtsman's Contract) (1982),
Work Notes
Exclusive to the Michael Nyman Band
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
1982
Duration
5 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration
version available for saxophone ensemble
Availability
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Michael Nyman An Eye for Optical Theory (The Draughtsman's Contract) (1982),
‘An Eye for Optical Theory’ is based on a four-bar harmonic frame, probably composed by Purcell’s lesser-known contemporary William Croft. Nyman grasps the syncopated potential of the original by allowing the two saxophones to layer textures consisting of individual ‘collections’ of melodies over a constantly-changing backing track in the remaining ensemble, eventually giving rise to a strident melodic line in the upper strings.

Each piece in Nyman’s soundtrack becomes a study in the poetics of musical deconstruction and reconstruction. However, there is also another and altogether more immediate dimension to this music: it is given powerful and vivid expression within the context of Nyman’s band. Rasping, hooting saxophones and horns are counterbalanced by animated, energetic strings, and underpinned by pounding piano chords and propulsive, purposeful bass lines. Such is the visceral immediacy of Nyman’s music that the understated aesthetic and technical apparatus brought to bear on these ‘found objects’ from the Baroque era sometimes goes unnoticed.

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    Michael Nyman Band
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    Michael Nyman Band
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    Michael Nyman Band
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    Michael Nyman
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    Michael Nyman Band
    Conductor
    Michael Nyman
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