The Piano Concerto/MGV

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The Piano Concerto/MGV
Art: Russell Warren-Fischer
from a photograph courtesy of French Railways
Studio album by Michael Nyman
Released March 28, 1994 (UK)
April 12, 1994 (USA)
Recorded January 6–7, 1994, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (The Piano Concerto)
December 8 & 10, 1993, Air Lyndhurst and Henry Wood Hall (MGV)
Genre contemporary classical, minimal
Length 59:03
Label Argo
Producer Andrew Cornall
Michael Nyman chronology
Michael Nyman for Yohji Yamamoto
1993
The Piano Concerto/MGV
1994
À la folie
1994
2008 Reissue Cover
Art by Michael Nyman, Russell Mills, Michael Storm-Webster
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The Buffalo News 3.5/5 stars [1]
The Flying Inkpot favorable[2]

The Piano Concerto/MGV is the 23rd album by Michael Nyman, released in 1994. It contains two compositions, The Piano Concerto and MGV. The first is performed by Kathryn Stott and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Nyman, and the second is performed by the Michael Nyman Band and Orchestra with Michael Nyman at the piano.

The album was released on Argo Records, and went out of print when the label folded. The original recording was reissued with new cover artwork by MN Records, Nyman's own label, on December 1, 2008[3]

The Piano Concerto[edit]

The Piano Concerto is a piano concerto based on the music Nyman wrote for The Piano organized into four phases (one movement). The saxophone is omitted ("Here to There" is given to the piano soloist) and the piano is accompanied by a traditional orchestra. The work is Nyman's second concerto, having previously written a saxophone concerto, Where the Bee Dances, for John Harle.

The Piano Concerto was first premiered 26 September 1993 at the Festival de Lille, which was also the debut of MGV. In his liner notes. Nyman cites the definite article as significant, and states the order of composition of the work: Autumn 1991, piano music for Holly Hunter to play in the film; Summer 1992, orchestral score for the completed film; concerto commissioned by Festival de Lille in Spring 1993. Jean-Claude Casadesus conducted the premiere of both works. Stott was the premiere soloist.

Nyman states that the principal goals of this "reconsideration" threefold: "to create a more coherent structure" for the musical material, elaborates upon the texture for full orchestra (the original was for saxophone and string orchestra), and to make the piano part more virtuostic.

The first phase, in A minor, is derived from the Scottish folk song, "Bonny Winter's noo awa"; the second phase is original and chromatic; the third is in G/D major and based on "Flowers of the Forest" (much faster and cut apart) and "Bonnie Jean" "massively slowed down" on cellos, trumpet, and divisi violins, and a harmonic phrase derived from material in the first phase, followed by reprises of "Bonny Winter's noo awa" and "Flowers of the Forest."

This recording of The Piano Concerto runs 32:28.

The Piano Concerto has been rerecorded, first in 1996 by Peter Lawson with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Carney, former violinist and violist of the Michael Nyman Band, and again in 1997, by John Lenehan (who had performed on The Essential Michael Nyman Band in 1992) with the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa, and released on Naxos Records with Where the Bee Dances performed by Simon Haram, a relative Michael Nyman Band newcomer at the time who is, as of 2008, still a regular member. This latter version is slightly faster and clocks in two minutes shorter, and features a very strong and precise brass section.

MGV: Musique à Grand Vitesse[edit]

Main article: MGV (composition)

This recording of MGV runs 26:30. It is the only commercial recording to date. "5th Region" appears on the promotional compilation Michael Nyman.

Track listing[edit]

  1. The Beach 11:48
  2. The Woods 6:25
  3. The Hut 9:06
  4. The Release 5:09
  5. 1st Region 4:56
  6. 2nd Region 4:06
  7. 3rd Region 8:18
  8. 4th Region 3:48
  9. 5th Region 5:22

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

The Piano Concerto[edit]

MGV[edit]

The Michael Nyman Band & Orchestra

Michael Nyman Band

  • Michael Nyman, conductor

Crew[edit]

This album is the earliest reference to a Michael Nyman Orchestra, though unlike the band, its members are not credited.

Short Cuts[edit]

The album has been issued as a double album with Short Cuts, a sampler compilation of music from other Argo Records albums by Graham Fitkin (2 tracks), Gavin Bryars, Michael Torke, Chris Fitkin, Michael Nyman (2 tracks), Henryk Górecki, Aaron Jay Kernis, Kevin Volans, Stanley Myers, David Byrne, Michael Gordon, Robert Moran, Mark Anthony Turnage, Richard Harris, and Paul Schoenfield. The booklet is double sized rather than having a separate booket, and the track listing is on the inner liner tray. The album is easier to find in the single version. Short Cuts is produced by Andrew Cornall, with art direction by David Smart and design by Russell Warren-Fischer, consisting of 1/4 page grey squares behind the work deescriptions. Several sales sites have listed Short Cuts sampler separately, but none have yet shown a separate album cover.

References[edit]