The Claim [Music from the Motion Picture]

The Claim [Music from the Motion Picture]

by Michael Nyman



Michael Nyman's sweeping score to director Michael Winterbottom's film The Claim might contain the most mournful compositions of the composer's career. Nyman's most successful scores in the past have been those where he explored baroque minimalism, as seen in his film scores to many Peter Greenaway films, and those where he tackled strong emotions, as in his score to Jane Campion's The Piano. With The Claim, Nyman composes in broad strokes; the minimalism of past compositions is still on display, but it's buried under a wall of evocative strings and weary brass through most of tracks. Some critics have called The Claim Nyman's answer to Ennio Morricone's score for Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. It's not really a fair assessment of either score. It's true that there are echoes of "Jill's Theme" from Once Upon a Time in the West, perhaps most clearly in "The Burning," but the two composers display entirely different intentions and emotions. Morricone's score had overtures that sounded like rock music; there are moments in Morricone's score where a paranoid harmonica and raging distortion suggest infinite menace. As accomplished as Morricone's score is, there are definite camp underpinnings; that's the nature of a spaghetti western score. Nyman operates in a far more restrained set of boundaries. There's never a moment when the music sounds anything less than classical and refined. Each of Nyman's individual compositions strive for a myriad of feelings, whereas Morricone used his compositions to display the mood of the on-screen action, be it pensive, tense, or horrifying. The Claim almost gets bogged down in strings, as Nyman piles them on quite heavily. It's safe to say that the score probably works better when paired with Winterbottom's images than it does on its own. Since the movie deals with serious themes and generally avoids frivolity, Nyman's score seems almost deadly serious. The music is beautiful, but more variation would make it more palatable as a separate entity from the movie. It's much easier to appreciate most of Nyman's film scores after viewing the source movies, and The Claim might be the best example of a score that seems a bit overbearing when one can't place an image or a character to an emotion within the music. There are minor echoes of Morricone, and The Claim is a work of great artistry and much beauty, but it works better in Winterbottom's film than it does as an album.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/23/2001
Label: Emd Int'l
UPC: 0724354547225
catalogNumber: 545472

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Michael Nyman   Primary Artist,Conductor
Paul Martin   Viola
Peter G. Hanson   Violin
Mark Berrow   Violin
Mike Brittain   Double Bass
Nick Cooper   Cello
Tony Hinnigan   Cello
Christopher Hooker   Oboe,Cor anglais
Greg Knowles   Percussion
Ann Morfee   Violin
Kate Musker   Viola
Steve Sidwell   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Piccolo
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Nigel Barr   Trombone,Tuba
Dermot Crehan   Violin
Martin Elliott   Bass Guitar
William Schofield   Cello
Paul Willey   Violin
Patrick Kiernan   Violin
Jonathan Snowden   Flute,Piccolo
Bruce White   Viola
Ed Coxon   Violin
Paul Gardham   French Horn
Ian Humphries   Violin
Julian Leaper   Violin
Rachel Allen   Violin
Sophie Harris   Cello
Simon Haram   Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Thomas Bowes   Violin
Paul Sherman   Double Bass

Technical Credits

Michael Nyman   Composer,Orchestration
Austin Ince   Engineer
Dave McKean   Illustrations
Robert Sigmund Worby   Programming
Gary Carpenter   Orchestration
Michael Nyman Orchestra   Contributor

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