The album features two main bodies of Mozart-derived works, the first is the soundtrack for Peter Greenaway’s Drowning by Numbers, and is an 'exploration' of the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic qualities that Nyman found so mysteriously attractive in the slow movement of the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola [which Greenaway had specified should be the source for the whole soundtrack!]. The second score draws from Letters, Riddles and Writs, a BBC2-commissioned homage to Mozart written in 1991. The film portrays Mozart (played by Ute Lemper) on his deathbed conducting an imaginary performance of The Magic Flute as he muses on his life’s predicaments. Thoughts of his troubled relationship with his father are illustrated in a remake of 'O Isis and Osiris, his dire financial situation is played out in 'Profit and Loss and the tragedy of dying while still at the height of his creativity is echoed in 'I am an Unusual Thing'. His (imaginary) annoyance of realising that Michael Nyman has plagiarised his 'Haydn' quartets also makes up a large part of the
16th May 2008
“Nyman is usually at his best feeding off the classical masters. Witness most of this new survey of pieces derived from Mozart phrases and chords. The Drowning by Numbers soundtrack is pleasurably revisited, along with that early calling card In Re Don Giovanni. Solo voices fight to get heard in songs from the TV film Letters, Riddles and Writs: blame the recording and the thick instrumentation. But that’s the only blight on this engaging CD”
“Mozart 252 is for people like me who find Nyman's In re Don Giovanni so catchy they have to play it again straight away, since the CD includes three versions of it.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.