Michael Nyman  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Michael Laurence Nyman, CBE (born 23 March 1944) is an English composer of minimalist music, pianist, librettist and musicologist, known for the many film scores he wrote during his lengthy collaboration with the filmmaker Peter Greenaway, and his multi-platinum soundtrack album to Jane Campion's The Piano. His operas include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Letters, Riddles and Writs, Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs, Facing Goya, Man and Boy: Dada, Love Counts, and Sparkie: Cage and Beyond, and he has written six concerti, four string quartets, and many other chamber works, many for his Michael Nyman Band, with and without whom he tours as a performing pianist. Nyman stated that he prefers to write opera rather than other sorts of music.

Contents

Works

  • 1963 – Introduction and Allegro Concertato for Wind Quartet (lost)
  • 1963 – Divertimento for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet
  • 1965 – Canzona for Flute
  • 1974 – Bell Set No. 1 (multiple metal percussion)
  • 1976 – 1–100 (4–6 pianos)
  • 1976 – (First) Waltz in D (variable)
  • 1976 – (Second) Waltz in F (variable)
  • 1977 – In Re Don Giovanni (ensemble)
  • 1978 – The Otherwise Very Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz (multiple pianos)
  • 1979 – "The Masterwork" Award Winning Fish-Knife (ensemble)
  • 1980 – A Neat Slice of Time (choir)
  • 1981 – Think Slow, Act Fast (ensemble)
  • 1981 – Five Orchestral Pieces for Opus Tree (band*) (based on Anton Webern's Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 10)
  • 1981 – M-Work (band)
  • 1981 – 2 Violins
  • 1982 – Four Saxes (Real Slow Drag) (saxophone quartet)
  • 1983 – A Handsome, Smooth, Sweet, Smart, Clear Stroke: Or Else Play Not At All (orchestra)
  • 1983 – Time's Up (chamber ensemble)
  • 1983 – I'll Stake My Cremona to a Jew's Trump (electric violin and viola, both players also simultaneously singing)
  • 1983 – Love is Certainly, at Least Alphabetically Speaking (soprano and band)
  • 1984 – The Abbess of Andouillets (choir)
  • 1985 – Nose-List Song (soprano and orchestra) [this and the above three works are from an unfinished opera setting of Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which Nyman has repeatedly cited as his all-time favourite book]
  • 1985 – Childs Play (2 violins; harpsichord)
  • 1985 – String Quartet No. 1
  • 1986 – Taking a Line for a Second Walk (for orchestra (Basic Black) or piano duet)
  • 1986 – The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (opera; libretto by Christopher Rawlence; adapted from the Oliver Sacks case study by Nyman, Rawlence, and Michael Morris
  • 1986 – And Do They Do (modern dance, 1986)
  • 1987 – Vital Statistics (opera; libretto by Victoria Hardie)
  • 1988 – String Quartet No. 2
  • 1989 – Out of the Ruins (choir)
  • 1989 – La Traversée de Paris (soprano and band)
  • 1989 – The Fall of Icarus (band)
  • 1989 – L'Orgie Parisienne Arthur Rimbaud setting (soprano or mezzo soprano and orchestra)
  • 1989 – La Sept (band)
  • 1990 – Shaping the Curve (soprano saxophone, string quartet or piano)
  • 1990 – Six Celan Songs (contralto and orchestra)
  • 1990 – Polish Love Song (soprano and piano or two clarinets, viola, cello and bass)
  • 1990 – String Quartet No. 3
  • 1990 – The Kiss and Other Movements
  • 1991 – The Michael Nyman Songbook A collection of songs based on texts by Paul Celan, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, William Shakespeare, and Arthur Rimbaud and recorded with vocalist Ute Lemper.
  • 1991 – Where the Bee Dances (soprano saxophone and orchestra)
  • 1991 – Fluegelhorn and Piano
  • 1992 – Time Will Pronounce (violin, cello, and piano)
  • 1992 – For John Cage (brass ensemble)
  • 1992 – Self-Laudatory Hymn of Inanna and Her Omnipotence (alto and string orchestra or countertenor and viol consort)
  • 1992 – The Convertibility of Lute Strings (solo harpsichord)
  • 1992 – Anne de Lucy Songs (soprano and piano)
  • 1992 – Le Mari de la Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser's Husband)
  • 1992 – The Upside-Down Violin (orchestra/ensemble)
  • 1993 – MGV: Musique à grande vitesse (band and orchestra)
  • 1993 – The Piano Concerto (piano and orchestra)
  • 1993 – Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs (1993; opera-ballet setting William Shakespeare's The Tempest)
  • 1993 – Yamamoto Perpetuo (violin solo)
  • 1993 – Songs for Tony (saxophone quartet)
  • 1994 – To Morrow (soprano or soprano saxophone, organ)
  • 1994 – 3 Quartets (ensemble)
  • 1994 – Concerto for Trombone (trombone, orchestra, and steel filing cabinets)
  • 1995 – String Quartet No. 4
  • 1995 – Tango for Tim (In memoriam Tim Suster) (harpsichord)
  • 1995 – The Waltz Song (unison voices)
  • 1995 – Viola and Piano
  • 1995 – Grounded (mezzo-soprano, saxophones, violin, piano)
  • 1995 – HRT [High Rise Terminal] (chamber ensemble)
  • 1995 – Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings
  • 1995 – Double Concerto for Saxophone and Cello (saxophone, cello, and orchestra)
  • 1996 – After Extra Time (ensemble)
  • 1996 – Enemy Zero (game music)
  • 1996 – The Ogre
  • 1997 – Enemy Zero – Original Soundtrack
  • 1997 – Strong on Oaks, Strong on the Causes of Oaks (orchestra)
  • 1997 – The Promise (piano)
  • 1997 – Gattaca
  • 1998 – Titch (worked on the main opening/closing piano theme).
  • 1998 – Cycle of Disquietude (Coisas, Vozes, Lettras) (soprano, mezzo-soprano, and band)
  • 1998 – Orfeu (band)
  • 1998 – De Granada A La Luna (band)
  • 1999 – The Commissar Vanishes (band)
  • 1999 – The End of the Affair
  • 2000 – Facing Goya (opera; libretto by Victoria Hardie)
  • 2001 – a dance he little thinks of (orchestra)
  • 2003 – Violin Concerto (violin and orchestra)
  • 2003 – Man and Boy: Dada (opera; libretto by Michael Hastings)
  • 2005 – Love Counts (opera; libretto by Michael Hastings)
  • 2006 – gdm for Marimba and Orchestra (concerto)
  • 2006 – Acts of Beauty' (song cycle)
  • 2007 – A Handshake in the Dark (choral piece with orchestra; text by Jamal Jumá [world premiere 8 March 2007, Barbican, London, performed by the BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, John Storgards conducting])
  • 2007 – Interlude in C (expansion of a theme from The Libertine for Accent07 touring ensemble)
  • 2007 – Eight Lust Songs song cycle
  • 2008 – Yamamoto Perpetuo for Solo Flute (arranged by Andy Findon)
  • 2009 – Sparkie: Cage and Beyond opera with Carsten Nicolai
  • 2009 – The Musicologist Scores (band)
  • 2010 – 2Graves
  • 2010 – Vertov Sounds

*originally recorded by Nyman, Ned Sublette, Susan Krongold, Barbara Benary, Jon Gibson, Richard Cohen, Virgil Blackwell, Peter Zummo, and Peter Gordon at The Kitchen, and intended for Peter Greenaway's short film, The Tree.

Nyman's music re-used

  • Nyman's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" (from The Piano) is the music on which Italian rock noir band Belladonna's song "Let There Be Light" is based. Released in December 2010, the track features Michael Nyman himself on piano.
  • Nyman's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" (from The Piano) was used as backing music for one of the bank advertisements for Lloyds TSB broadcast on television. It has also been featured in episodes of 20/20.
  • Music from Ravenous has been used at least once on WFYI's Across Indiana, in a segment titled "On the Trail of John Hunt Morgan", produced by Scott Andrew Hutchins.
  • Nyman's soundtrack for Carrington is mostly based on his own String Quartet No. 3.
  • A Cock and Bull Story contains music from The Draughtsman's Contract, as well as Nyman's arrangements of classical music used in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (it does not use any music from Nyman's Tristram Shandy opera).
  • Nyman's music for Peter Greenaway's films has been used in the Japanese television program Iron Chef.
  • Popular "Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds" (from The Draughtsman's Contract) constituted the main theme of Spanish TV program Queremos Saber, presented by Mercedes Milà in the nineties. It was also used in the British comedy film "A Cock and Bull Story", starring Steve Coogan. In 2013, it was sampled in the Pet Shop Boys single "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct", produced by Stuart Price.
  • Nyman features in '9 Songs' (Michael Winterbottom, 2004) playing at the Hackney Empire on his 60th birthday.
  • Nyman's MGV: Musique à grande vitesse was used in November 2006 for a new one-act ballet for the Royal Ballet in London, DGV (danse à grande vitesse) by Christopher Wheeldon.
  • Nyman's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" was covered by the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. Nyman had refused to release the song initially; the band was later granted permission and the song was released in 29 February 2012 as part of the single The Crow, the Owl and the Dove from their album Imaginaerum.
  • Time Lapse was used in Sky's 2008 'Heroes' advert
  • Selections from Nyman's catalogue formed part of the soundtrack for James Marsh's 2008 documentary, Man on Wire, a film about Philippe Petit, a Frenchman, who in 1974 illegally strung a tightrope between the top of the WTC buildings and danced between them for 45 minutes, thus committing the "artistic crime of the 20th century".
  • Nyman's piece "Car Crash" from A Zed & Two Noughts was used for once on the final episode of a Greek series called 'To Kafe Tis Xaras'
  • Nyman's piece "Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds" is sampled on the Pet Shop Boys single "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct".

Select discography

Studio albums




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Michael Nyman" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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