• Michael Nyman
  • Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds (The Draughtsman's Contract) (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Exclusive to the Michael Nyman Band
Unavailable for performance.

  • 2ssx(asx).barsx:(picc:fl)/hn.tpt.btbn(euph)/pf/2vn.va.vc/ebgtr
  • version also available for piano
  • 5 min

Programme Note

Nyman’s approach to Purcell’s music is very much in the baroque spirit of composing variations upon existing ideas, and this is seen in ‘Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds’. Featured on a number of television commercials, this popular work takes its material from the Prelude to Act III scene 2 from Purcell’s King Arthur. The music ‘comments’ on the common language shared between the two styles of baroque and rock ‘n’ roll by employing a harmonic pattern used by both (the C major-A minor-F major-G major chord sequence found in American Doo-wop music, which achieved popularity during the 1950s). Having established a common denominator between the two, Nyman incorporates another shared device – the cumulative layering of melodic lines – a feature of both baroque developmental variation and rock multi-track recording. Thus ‘Chasing Sheep’ acts as a montage of different ‘takes’, representing different ‘days’ of the drawing process, while the penultimate section is closely based on the rhythmic and melodic character of In Re Don Giovanni.


Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds - 2004 Digital Remaster


More Info