Cenciarelli, Carlo

The Case Against Nyman Revisited: ‘Affirmative’ and ‘Critical’ Evidence in Michael Nyman’s Appropriation of Mozart
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  1. It is asserted that In Re Don Giovanni is based on the first sixteen bars of the Leporello’s aria – but this is not true. It is the first fifteen bars only. This may seem a trivial point, but I do not think it is. The lack of the “expected” sixteenth bar is one of the things which gives the piece its slight feeling of unpredictability.

    Another point is that each of the four sets of fifteen bars is repeated, so there is a feeling of statis, which neatly counterbalances the steadily increasing fullness of the music – it is not A B C D but A A B B C C D D.

    Another point is the order that the four elements are introduced – by starting with the inner repeated quavers, followed by bass, counter-melody and only then “main tune”, the general perception of what is important about the music is subverted. But notivce that the ‘chugging’ quavers of the piece do not disappear, but remain, just like the opening snare drum rhythm is Ravel’s Bolero.

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