I was feeling a little grumpy this morning, until this gift arrived. A video by my friend Andrew, with a soundtrack of my recording of Michael Nyman’s Lost and Found.
Loving living in this neon wonderland…
The Mood That Passes Through You by Michael Nyman. Performed by Sally Whitwell (me!). Video by my friend Andrew from New United Artists :) In his words…
“On one of my walkabouts I shoot a footage ‘without thinking’. I found a music for it tonight. The video footage is unaltered and, by a fluke, seems to match the sound.”
My album All Imperfect Things - solo piano music of Michael Nyman has been nominated in three categories in the 27th ARIA Awards 2013.
That’s right, three categories.
I am unbelievably thrilled. Not only has the album been nominated for Best Classical Album but my esteemed colleague and partner-in-crime Virginia Read has received nominations for Best Engineer and Best Producer. She’s an expert in recording classical music and she’s hangin’ out with the cool kids, the engineers and producers who work with the rock’n’rollers and poptarts. This is a rare occurrence for the classical music industry, although it shouldn’t be.
It also warrants a mention that she’s also the only woman who’s been nominated in either of those categories. Excellent! It’s a still rather male-dominated profession, so this makes me even happier.
Fingers crossed for another pointy ARIA statue on my shelf. And two statues on Virginia’s shelf.
Why by Michael Nyman. Originally composed for the soundtrack to Anne no Nikki (Diary of Anne Frank). Performed here by Sally Whitwell (me! Gratuitous self promotion) on the album All Imperfect Things.
Before this was a piano piece, it was a song with text by Roger Pulvers. When I was recording it, the lyrics of the original song were running through my head. A lot. I still ask myself these questions all the time, even if it is somewhat immaturely naive of me…
We ask our father why,
Why people cannot love,
Why people hate all day and night,
Spoiling children’s dreams.
We ask our mother why,
Why people cannot live
Why they won’t let the children be
Crushing their belief.
Tell us why, Papa, your children want to know
"Some day you’ll find out."
Leaves us lonely and cold.
Tell us why, Mama, your children want to know
"You shouldn’t ask such things."
Leaves no room to grow.
We ask our parents why
Why children cannot grow.
Don’t look away from us,
Don’t lie, please don’t lie,
Your children need to know.
Tell me why, somebody,
We children need an answer
Why adults fight over God,
Why adults fight over colour,
Why adults go to war.
The Embrace by Michael Nyman. Originally composed for the soundtrack for Jane Campion’s film The Piano. Recorded here by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things
So… this is actually my favourite piece on the album. Am I allowed to have a favourite? Too late.
Lovely review for my Michael Nyman album All Imperfect Things in the Courier Mail yesterday.
4 1/2 stars, omg!
Just one thing though - people always call me “quirky”. Always. Maybe it is true, but there’s surely more than one way to say it?!
If any potential reviewers are reading this (*hint hint*), please note; a cursory glance toward an online thesaurus will reward you with quite a few acceptable synonyms for “quirky”. Easy! I’ve done it for you :D
Here to There by Michael Nyman. Originally composed for the soundtrack to the Jane Campion film The Piano. Performed here by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things - Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman
This piece was played by a saxophone quartet in the film. I’m doing my best impression of one :)
Maya Deren. If you don’t know this name, well, you should!! Too much to say in one teeny caption, read the wiki article, it’s quite thorough.
If by Michael Nyman. Originally composed for the soundtrack to Anne no nikki (Diary of Anne Frank) Performed by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman).
"The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Anime" are not two things that you would necessarily think to put in the same sentence together. But this works. Trust me.
Silver Fingered Fling by Michael Nyman, originally composed for the soundtrack to jane Campion’s film The Piano. Performed here by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things - Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman
Every time I hear this piece, I can’t help but think of the scene in the film
After Ada has her finger chopped off by her jealous husband, her lover Baines fashions a new finger for her made from silver which she attaches to her stump with little leather straps. The opening motif of the piece has a repeated note, which is the note she plays with her new silver finger. Tap. Tap. Tap on the keys *shiver*
Digital Tragedy by Michael Nyman, originally composed for the soundtrack for computer game Enemy Zero. Performed here by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things
Funny story about this one. Typos are powerful. When I was researching the piece, I went looking for already existing recordings. I found Mr. Nyman’s menacingly spooky original recording, and then I found another splendidly energetic one my Ksenia Bashmet which was at least twice as fast. Very speedy indeed!! So I asked him what was going on and it turns out there’s a typo in the published score.
So, kids, if you’re going to learn to play it, know that it’s much slower than printed. The score says 170 bpm but it should be roughly 50 bpm.
So glad I did my research on this one!!
The Attraction of the Pedalling Ankle by Michael Nyman. Originally composed for the soundtrack to Jane Campion’s film The Piano. Performed here by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things - Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman
Never has characterisation been so intimately intwined in a film soundtrack. Not before then and not since then… So I felt compelled to record it.
A fan of mine calls my look here either “Menacing Nanny” or “Steampunk Poppins”. That rather appeals to me, I must say.
From the photoshoot for my Michael Nyman album All Imperfect Things.
When she plays, the notes come out in rapturous, slow-building waves, creating a veritable ocean of feeling. Composed by Michael Nyman (and performed by Hunter herself), the film’s lush, rippling, New Age-on-the-moors soundtrack is more than merely beautiful; it’s intensely dramatic. In The Piano, Ada’s muteness, coupled with the haunting power of her musical voice, becomes Campion’s visionary metaphor for the condition of women in society: unable to “speak” the emotional volumes they have to say. Ada’s music is the subversive essence of her humanity, not just what she feels but who she is.
Owen Gleiberman reviews Jane Campion’s 1992 film The Piano in Entertainment Weekly.
For a film whose central power comes from it’s soundtrack by Michael Nyman, this is the only reviewer I can find on the interwebs who really gets it. What’s wrong with other reviewers? Can’t they hear?? In the Guardian, Philip French makes cursory mention (“accompanied by an exquisite Michael Nyman score”) and Derek Malcolm is annoyingly backhanded about his compliment (“embellished by music from Michael Nyman, that doesn’t impose itself as in a Greenaway film”).
Now for an ad. Buy my recording of the music from this film. Kthanxbai.
The Schoolroom by Michael Nyman, performed by Sally Whitwell (me!) on the album All Imperfect Things - Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman. Originally this piece was composed for the soundtrack to the film Anne no Nikki (Diary of Anne Frank).
A Japanese anime film about this WW2 story. It actually works!