Nyman The Piano Concerto;Prospero's Books;On the Fiddle

Author: 
rseeley

Nyman The Piano Concerto;Prospero's Books;On the Fiddle

  • (The) Piano Concerto
  • On the Fiddle
  • Prospero's Books, Prospero's curse
  • Prospero's Books, Prospero's magic
  • Prospero's Books, Miranda
  • Prospero's Books, Cornfield

Nyman’s swirling, grandly romantic Piano Concerto is more than just an opportunistic reworking of material from the hugely popular film score (itself based on several Scottish folk melodies). It has a mist-enshrouded, almost Gothic intensity that is hauntingly realized through the ardent playing of Kathryn Stott under the composer’s incisive direction on the Argo disc. If Carney and Lawson are not quite so compelling on Tring’s new rival version, particularly during the opening movements which seem rather sluggish in comparison with Nyman’s interpretation, they do bring a satisfying fervour to the score’s concluding sections. Lawson is generally a less confident soloist than Stott, though bravura moments, like the tricky jig-like passage that opens the third movement, are none the less tackled with skill. In terms of sound, too, the concerto seems better served by the firm and well-rounded acoustic provided by Argo than by Tring’s more reverberant and consequently less detailed recording where the piano tends to sound a little insubstantial at times.
Complementing the appeal of both discs are their couplings. Argo’s MGV is a mesmerizing depiction of a high-speed train journey across France, whilst Tring maintain the film connection with two equally winning pieces – four shimmering excerpts from Prospero’s Books, plus On the Fiddle, a hypnotic three-movement piece for violin and orchestra based on material from Prospero’s Books, A Zed and Two Noughts and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover – both of which Carney invests with suitably Nymanesque vigour. Though the composer’s full-price version of the concerto is inevitably a hard act for Carney to follow, as a super-budget alternative with two very attractive fillers, this is a rewarding bargain.'

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