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Michael NYMAN (b. 1944)
Yamamoto Perpetuo for Solo Flute (2008) [37:00]
Andy Findon (flute)
rec. 18 August 2008, Angel Studios, London. DDD
Score published by Chester
AMF02 [37:00] 
Experience Classicsonline

Originally composed for solo violin in 1993, Yamamoto Perpetuo was commissioned by Yohji Yamamoto for a fashion show in Paris. The material was later used by Nyman to create his String Quartet No 4. This version was conceived by Andy Findon, long-term flute and saxophone player in the Michael Nyman Band and one of the UK’s most successful session musicians. Findon’s career has spanned a multitude of musical styles and even instruments, including numerous performances for West End shows, orchestral work and chamber music. His flute playing does not have the airy sound often associated with ‘doublers’; his playing is impressive on this recording, with a rich tone and astonishing displays of virtuosity. 

In this arrangement, Findon has altered the order of the eleven movements from the violin original, to help the player with breathing and stamina issues. The result is a pleasing set of varied movements, full of Nyman’s characteristic jaunty rhythms, off beat accents and repeated figures. There are clear influences of earlier musical styles, which Nyman uses as his own, giving a wonderful sense of nostalgia to moments of the music. 

Despite this being a solo piece, there is a sense of texture in the writing, with the repeated lines somehow entering the consciousness of the listener in such a way that harmonies are formed. One cannot help but be impressed by Findon’s playing, especially the embouchure control in the quiet high register sections - for example in movement 3 - and the technical control in the faster passages. For example, movement 5 has the sense of being easy despite its demands, and is played with perfect rhythmic control. Findon resists the common tendency of some other flute players to rush in the hard bits; by maintaining space and a strong sense of the pulse this music is able to really come to life and becomes so much more than an impressive display of technique. 

Findon’s playing on this recording demonstrates a high level of musicianship; the expressive passages are well phrased and handled with sensitivity, providing moments of calm within this otherwise challenging work. 

Any 37 minute work for solo instrument requires stamina of the audience as well as the performer, and this piece almost held my attention throughout. Momentary lapses of concentration on my part were short-lived as something new in the music captured my attention each time. Nyman’s music has a wonderful energy and rhythmic drive, and Findon understands exactly how to show it at its best. 

The score, also supplied for review, is clearly presented, with an informative preface and well-organised page turns. It provides a user-friendly way in to this astonishing work for flute players and it is well worth exploring for its rhythmical, technical and musical challenges. 

Carla Rees 




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