Stop the clocks, we have a live ‘un! Michael Nyman is the current BBC Composer of the Week (Radio Three, 12.00 – 1.00pm)
Michael Nyman is best known for his collaborations with film director Peter Greenaway, producing groundbreaking movies such as The Draughtman’s Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Yet his most popular score was written for Jane Campion’s magnificent film, The Piano. Critical response to this score was divided, yet the soundtrack cd has sold over three million copies. So I don’t think he will be over bothered.
Nyman’s output is massive, embracing opera (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Facing Goya), five string quartets, various concertos and songs to name but a few of the genres.
It was Michael Nyman who invented the word ‘minimalism’ to describe a new sound world of new music in the late 1960’s.
He has worked with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, writing the libretto for Down By The Greenwood Side and Damon Albarn, co-writing the score for the 1999 film Ravenous.
His music often draws from the past, but reinvents it in his own distinctive, inimitable style. There is a ‘Nyman’ sound: energetic, physical, driven, repetitive and invariably positive. One comes away from a Michael Nyman Band gig sated, it is like a rock concert, a real musical experience.
Late Music has programmed Michael Nyman in the past and will continue to do so in the future. He is, surely, a worthy ‘composer of the week’.
P.S. which football team does he support?