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 UKís
most successful session musicians. Findonís
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 Ďdoublersí; 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
Nymanís 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 Findonís 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.
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
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. Nymanís
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.