March 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /March01/

Michael NYMAN
The Claim
Virgin CDVE 953 [50:05]
   Amazon UK    Amazon US

Nyman's circular melodic development, and sparse orchestration can run some soundtrack collectors up the wrong way. Even those who liked "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" found the rest of The Piano album let it down. As someone who has only come to appreciate the Nyman 'effect' in recent years by finally viewing a sizeable body of the films themselves, I'm delighted to say that The Claim should appeal to more of those detractors than almost anything else he's done.

It's reasonably well known that Nyman favours Ennio Morricone very highly. Every so often you catch what seems like a nod to the Master, but here you'll find an extremely upfront comparison. Place the (uncredited) wordless female vocalist who

appears immediately with "The Exchange" next to the "Main Theme" (generally for Claudia Cardinale's character) from Once Upon A Time In The West. The effect achieved by both is remarkably similar. Apart from this being apparent (perhaps only to me!), the album is full of pleasant surprises.

Standout tracks include: "The Train" with a charging momentum promising some exciting arrival, "The Explosion" which presents a secondary main theme in grand style, and "The Burning" which at 9 minutes might well be an overture for the whole score.

Paul Tonks

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