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The Piano
(1993)
Album Cover Art
1993 Virgin
2004 Virgin
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, Performed, and Produced by:
Michael Nyman

Performed by:
The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Virgin Records
(October 19th, 1993)

Virgin Records/EMI
(May 18th, 2004)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Both albums are regular U.S. releases.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe.
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ALSO SEE




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you can appreciate a crossover film score that merges the sensibility of classical piano performances with Michael Nyman's own, distinctive orchestral structures.

Avoid it... if you're interested in the score purely because of the hype generated by collectors of classical music, for Nyman's music is impressive in its technical precision but, like the film, lacks convincing warmth in a challenging environment.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,682
WRITTEN 9/29/09
Nyman
Nyman
The Piano: (Michael Nyman) There exist films so concentrated in the socio-political message of their creators that they miss the mark because of just a handful of intentionally striking, high impact scenes that overshadow the rest of the story. One such entry is Jane Campion's Miramax hit of 1993, The Piano. While applauded to seemingly no end at the time, Campion's screenplay and direction brutally and blatantly conveyed a commentary about the societal roles of women in the 1800's and beyond, telling of a mute Scottish woman sold to be the bride of an Englishman in remote New Zealand. She speaks through her piano, which is refused and sold by the husband to an English neighbor who has "gone native" (so to speak) and no longer follows the norms of British culture. He buys the piano and the woman's services as a teacher, but unbeknownst to the husband, the new bride arranges to earn the keys on her piano back through sexual favors that eventually turn into a more complicated relationship. When the husband discovers this arrangement, he violently executes a scene of dismemberment that is so incredibly disturbing that the entirety of the remainder of the film is overshadowed by this one gory moment. Redemption does eventually come, but as an overall package, The Piano is ultimately too disturbing to enjoy repeatedly (full frontal nudity from Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel is, as you might expect, a mixed bag). Being that Hunter's performances on the piano are an instrumental aspect of the film (sorryÉ couldn't resist the pun), assisting in catapulting her to an Oscar win, the soundtrack is thus one of those source-like endeavors that sells extremely well on album. In the case of Michael Nyman's original music for The Piano, three million copies of the CD were sold in the ten years after its debut, maintaining extraordinarily strong crossover appeal to the classical market. Nyman waffled between vintage tones and the stylistic methodology of his own constructs for The Piano, mindful of both the normal classical and folk sound that would have informed the lead character's performances in the film but also striving to express that character's independence from society's accepted limits by allowing her to spontaneously perform in a manner contemporary to the film's making. Ultimately, what Nyman created is a work that resides very comfortably in the context of his own career, likely pleasing his own collecting base and that of Philip Glass, whose music is similar in many of its post-modern, minimalistic inclinations. If you expect much warmth to emanate from a tale as bittersweet as this one, however, think twice before believing the hype.



Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
178 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.54 Stars
***** 64 5 Stars
**** 38 4 Stars
*** 30 3 Stars
** 23 2 Stars
* 23 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
1993 Virgin Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 56:48
• 1. To the Edge of the Earth (4:06)
• 2. Big My Secret (2:53)
• 3. A Wild and Distant Shore (5:52)
• 4. The Heart Asks Pleasure First (1:33)
• 5. Here to There (1:02)
• 6. The Promise (4:14)
• 7. A Bed of Ferns (0:46)
• 8. The Fling (1:28)
• 9. The Scent of Love (4:16)
• 10. Deep Into the Forest (2:58)
• 11. The Mood That Passes Through 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 (5:32)
2004 Virgin Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 60:30

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The inserts include a note from Nyman about the score and film.
Copyright © 2009-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Piano are Copyright © 1993, 2004, Virgin Records, Virgin Records/EMI and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/29/09 (and not updated significantly since).
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