Piano CD cover

Piano, The - 1993

Virgin Records America - D 102462 - 57 min.
UPC # 077778827429

Album Producer & Composer: Michael Nyman
Players: Munich Philharmonia with John Harle, David Roach, Andrew Findon & Michael Nyman.
Album Design: Dave McKean; Executive Engineer: Malcolm Luker.
Recording Engineer: Michael J. Dutton; Assistant Engineer: Jamie Luker.
Recorded at: Arco Studios, Munich; Mixed and Edited at Kitsch Studios, Brussels.
NOTE: Solo piano by Michael Nyman, on the CD, although in the film it was by Holly Hunter.

I had to establish not only the usual repretoire of music for a film, but a specific repertoire of piano music that would have been Ada's repertoire as a pianist. I began creating her a folio of material that I imagined she had in her head, that her fingners carried around with her, almost as if she had been the composer of it. It had to be a "possible" mid-nineteenth century music but not pastiche and obviously written in 1992.
Initially I was unsure as to how precisely to pitch the style. But once I had the perception that since Ada was from Scotland, it was logical to use Scottish folk and popular songs as the basis of our music. Once I hit on that idea everything fell into place.
It's as though I had to write the music of another composer who happened to live in Scotland, then New Zealand in the mid-eighteenth fifties. Someone who was obviously not a professional composer or pianist, so there had to a modesty to it. Except that Holly Hunter played Ada playing the piano with enormous dedication and intensity.
Since Ada doesn't speak, the piano music doesn't simply have the usual expressive role, but becomes a substitute for her voice. The sound of the piano becomes her character, her mood, her expressions, her unspoken dialogue, her body language. It has to convery the messages she is putting across about her feelings toward Baines during the piano lessons, and these differ from lesson to lesson as the relationship, the state of sexual bargaining and passion, develop. I've had to create a kind of aural scenography which is as important as the locations, as important as the costumes. Ada's music is described by one of the characters in the film as "like a mood that passes throught you...a sound that creeps into you". The piano music came first, and helped to define the orchestral score.

- Michael Nyman - from the soundtrack cd album notes -


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Awards - Downloads - Reviews

1993 - American Film Institute - Best Original Score
1994 - Chicago Film Critics Association - Best Score

All Music Guide - Information including review & downloads

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01. To The Edge Of The Earth - 4:06
02. Big My Secret - 2:51
03. A Wild And Distant Shore - 5:50
04. The Heart Asks Pleasure First - 1:33
05. Here To There - 1:02
06. The Promise - 4:14
07. A Bed Of Ferns - :46
08. The Fling - 1:28
09. The Scent Of Love - 4:16
10. Deep Into The Forest - 2:58
11. The Mood That Passes Throught You - 1:13
12. Lost And Found - 2:24
13. The Embrace - 2:36
14. Little Impulse - 2:11
15. The Sacrifice - 2:46
16. I Clipped Your Wing - 4:34
17. The Wounded - 2:26
18. All Imperfect Things - 4:03
19. Dreams Of A Journey - 5:30


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