Out of the Ruins touches on Gregorian chant and sacred music of the Baroque. This is a slowly evolving requiem that draws on Armenian traditions with no hint of Nyman’s signature propulsive rhythms. Some of the music can be heard in different form in Nyman’s third Quartet and the soundtrack for Carrington. In 1988, Armenia suffered a devastating earthquake in which caused widespread destruction and killed more than 25,000 people. BBC director Agnieszka Piotrowska asked Michael Nyman to write a work to accompany a documentary she was making for the first anniversary, and offered text from 10th century poet Grigor Narekatsi’s Book of Lamentations.
Nyman is a contemporary British composer of richly layered, modular minimalist pieces, often incorporating period instruments or instrumentation outside the normal Orchestral offerings. He is particularly well known for his film scores, including The Piano, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Prospero’s Books and The Claim, among many others. His work is widely performed and recorded.