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Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)

Posted By: Designol
Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)

Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 208 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 153 Mb | Scans included
Classical, Minimalism | Label: ABC Classics | # ABC 481 0412 | Time: 00:51:20

ARIA Award-winning pianist Sally Whitwell strikes again with her third album, following the successful releases of her debut and sophomore albums ‘Mad Rush: The Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass’ and ‘The Good, The Bad and The Awkward: Solo Piano Music from the Movies’. Now comes a collection of piano works from great British film composer Michael Nyman – bound to bring back haunting memories of images and sound from movies such as The Piano, The Draughtsman's Contract and The Diary of Anne Frank, as well as the cult computer game Enemy Zero.

Sally Whitwell’s self-declared mission is to ‘keep classical music friendly’. That’s to be welcomed as an antidote to the rigidity of concert conventions; the sort of thing that keeps generations of young listeners barge-pole distant.

I have not heard Whitwell’s previous discs but their titles suggest a consistent and fresh approach. Both are on ABC Classics: The Good, The Bad and The Awkward: Solo Piano Music from the Movies(476 4898) and Mad Rush: Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass (476 4469). She is by no means a studio-bound musician. Her admirable mettle and endeavour are clear enough from having performed with the composer and Maki Namekawa The Complete Piano Etudes of Philip Glass for the 2013 Perth International Arts Festival.

Here she plays a fetching Michael Nyman selection and does so unfazed by the tendency of each piece just to end - it’s in the nature of much film music. Whitwell thunders in Silver-Fingered Fling but can also ‘sing’ with seraphic Mozartean introspection. Sweetness and shadows are at subtle play in Lost and Found. Dances that speak of heroism and stomping life are communicated with great and resonant power as in Here to There. Towers where bells slowly swing and quickly chime dominate All Imperfect Things. Contrast this with the at first murmuring and rumbling The Attraction of the Pedalling Ankle; it pre-dates Einaudi whose style in Le Onde (1996) it prefigures in that introductory section. All these tracks are from the film, The Piano (1993).

The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982) track reminds us that Nyman also draws on Handelian grandeur, as he did to even greater effect in Prospero’s Books. I had not previously heard the four tracks from Diary of Anne Frank. They are from the music for a Japanese anime film. If is another pensive and touching hymn-like statement as is Goodbye Moortie which has the sunlit heights of Why? as its triumphant goal. The Schoolroom skirls and thrums - Caledonian influences close at hand. Enemy Zero is from Nyman’s music for a computer game which has plot parallels with the Ridley Scott Alien films. It is suitably remorseless in Digital Tragedy and sentimentally strummed in Love. The disc plays out with the shoulder-driven pummelling kinetics of Time Lapse from A Zed and Two Noughts.
High quality sound complements the fulfilment of Whitwell’s mission but a couple of things militate against her. The first is the abstemious playing time. The second relates to the booklet which has this finely talented pianist speaking to us directly about herself and the music. There’s nothing wrong with that: it’s just that the font is printed white on Prince Albert mahogany. It makes for eye-strained reading.

Visually the album cover stands out with Whitwell gazing head-on in full anthracite and jet Goth-style - just a touch of Edward Scissorhands too.

Followers of Whitwell, Nyman or melodious minimalism will not regret this disc. Watch out for Whitwell’s next issue.

Review by Rob Barnett, MusicWeb-International.com


You’d think that naming her new disc of Michael Nyman’s solo piano music after his short piece All Imperfect Things would be inviting critics to pick Sally Whitwell apart. But it’s clear from her previous releases that she proudly wears her personal quirks and imperfections on her sleeve as part of her musical make-up.

Literally, in the case of the cover art in question, with the normally punk-styled pianist decked out in foreboding Victorian gothic leather. The portrait suggests an affinity between Whitwell and Ada, the mute heroine of Jane Campion’s The Piano who gives voice to her fiery temperament and innermost desires only through her instrument. Does Sally do the same?

Of course, she opens with Ada’s suite of pieces from the best-selling soundtrack that has made Nyman a household name for amateur pianists for the past 20 years. And she does indeed knead some new shapes out of this well-known music. She plays first with lingering rubato and then wildly revs up for the compound rhythms of The Heart Asks Pleasure First – the spark that made her debut Philip Glass album Mad Rush such a success.

The floating folk melodies of Silver-Fingered Fling are contrasted with punchy staccato sections as spiky as her hair. She gets more sheer madcap fun – and some unexpected tenderness – out of Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds (The Draughtsman’s Contract) than any other piano interpretation I’ve heard.

The bright piano sound is well suited to those moments but becomes exposed and harsh in fast repetitive passages. The challenge with all of Nyman’s pulsing neo-Baroque music is to bring interest and variety, aside from its role as accompaniment to the films of Peter Greenaway and others. Strip it down and that you’re left with are block chords and sometimes artless melodies. And there are times Whitwell can’t avoid bashing these out, despite the emotional depth of her playing.

Review by Melissa Lesnie, LimeLightMagazine


Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)



Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)



Tracklist:

01. The Piano - The Hearts asks pleasure first (02:22)
02. The Piano - Silver-fingered fling (03:43)
03. The Piano - Lost and found (02:37)
04. The Piano - Deep sleep playing (02:22)
05. The Piano - The mood that passes through you (01:38)
06. The Piano - The embrace (02:15)
07. The Piano - Here to there (01:26)
08. The Piano - All imperfect things (03:24)
09. The Piano - The attraction of the pedalling ankle (05:09)

10. The Draughtsman's Contract - Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds (03:23)

11. The Diary of Anne Frank - If (03:47)
12. The Diary of Anne Frank - The schoolroom (02:36)
13. The Diary of Anne Frank - Goodbye Moortie (02:32)
14. The Diary of Anne Frank - Why? (03:04)

15. Enemy Zero - Digital tragedy (02:43)
16. Enemy Zero - Love (03:29)

17. A Zed and Two Noughts - Time Lapse (04:42)


Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 1 from 15. November 2010

EAC extraction logfile from 15. November 2014, 20:23

Sally Whitwell / All imperfect things

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Additional command line options : -T "COMMENT=Ripped by GFox" -8 -V %s


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==== Log checksum C7967AB3991B1AF148EF45D61A646C17859EFB6AA08935F791D62A9B44D0EDEB ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2015-03-20 13:22:27

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Sally Whitwell / All imperfect things
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR10 -1.23 dB -15.25 dB 2:23 01-The Piano - The Hearts asks pleasure first
DR11 0.00 dB -16.53 dB 3:43 02-The Piano - Silver-fingered fling
DR11 -2.33 dB -19.17 dB 2:38 03-The Piano - Lost and found
DR11 -0.07 dB -16.73 dB 2:22 04-The Piano - Deep sleep playing
DR10 -2.62 dB -19.06 dB 1:38 05-The Piano - The mood that passes through you
DR14 -0.30 dB -20.51 dB 2:16 06-The Piano - The embrace
DR11 0.00 dB -13.45 dB 1:27 07-The Piano - Here to there
DR13 -2.65 dB -20.05 dB 3:24 08-The Piano - All imperfect things
DR12 -2.54 dB -20.24 dB 5:10 09-The Piano - The attraction of the pedalling ankle
DR12 0.00 dB -14.10 dB 3:23 10-The Draughtsman's Contract - Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds
DR12 -1.55 dB -19.88 dB 3:48 11-The Diary of Anne Frank - If
DR11 -0.10 dB -15.20 dB 2:37 12-The Diary of Anne Frank - The schoolroom
DR12 -0.09 dB -17.40 dB 2:32 13-The Diary of Anne Frank - Goodbye Moortie
DR12 -1.31 dB -17.97 dB 3:05 14-The Diary of Anne Frank - Why?
DR12 -0.15 dB -17.67 dB 2:43 15-Enemy Zero - Digital tragedy
DR14 -0.67 dB -19.49 dB 3:29 16-Enemy Zero - Love
DR11 -0.04 dB -13.18 dB 4:43 17-A Zed and Two Noughts - Time Lapse
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 17
Official DR value: DR12

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 470 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Sally Whitwell - All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman (2013)

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