Andy Findon’s new release Density 21.5, a collection of unaccompanied works for flute (and other instruments) by contemporary British composers, features five Michael Nyman compositions. One of them, an early work called “Canzona”, has never been recorded for release before.
Full details here. The album is currently only available for digital download.
First performed in Spain in 2000 then extensively revised for a second “premiere” in Karlsruhe in 2002, Facing Goya still ranks as Nyman’s most ambitious operatic work to date. Divided into four acts, lasting well over two hours, featuring five singers and scored for a large ensemble (effectively an expanded version of the Michael Nyman Band), it comes close to “grand” opera in design, which perhaps explains why the work has been overshadowed by the composer’s more approachable chamber operas.
It’s an irony not lost on Michael Nyman. His score to a film that helped define the communist USSR will ring out in front of Moscow’s new capitalist elite. “I’m sure that contemporary Russians will find this film quaint and totally incomprehensible,” he half-jokes.
Variously translated from Russian as One Sixth of the World, or sometimes A Sixth Part of the World, the film in question is a barnstorming state-of-the-nation documentary intended to gel the far-flung peoples of the young nation together into one tight revolutionary pack. This September the composer will be performing his soundtrack to the film inside Russia for the first time at the Barvikha Concert Hall in Moscow.
A Sixth Part of the World was made in 1926 by director David Kaufmann – who worked under the pseudonym Dziga Vertov – and depicts everything from steel mills to folk dance.
“I first worked on Vertov with my score for Man With a Movie Camera,” explains Nyman. “Then I scored his film The Eleventh Year. The Austrian Film Foundation told me they intended to release a DVD with both The Eleventh Year and A Sixth Part of the World. I pointed out that it would seem odd to have one film with a soundtrack and the other without. So I composed the soundtrack for A Sixth Part of the World.”
Meanwhile, Nyman reveals that he has yet another Russian epic in his sights. He is working on “a new score for Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin,” he says.
-By Chris Beanland, The Independent
Long Beach Opera has long specialized in edgy, adventurous pieces that major houses tend to shy away from. On Wednesday, the small company announced that its new season will include productions of operas by Michael Nyman, Francis Poulenc, Bohuslav Martinu and more. It will also feature Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ainadamar,” which the company postponed in 2007 due to budget problems.
The 2012 season will comprise four individual productions, including a double bill. Performances will take place at venues around Long Beach and San Pedro…
...Nyman’s “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” (June 16 and 24) is a 1986 opera based on the book by Oliver Sacks that includes the true story of a man suffering from a strange neurological condition. Performances will take place at the EXPO Building in Long Beach. As a composer, Nyman has become famous for his scores for movies including “The Piano,” “Gattaca” and “The End of the Affair,” as well as for films by Peter Greenaway.
—David Ng, LA Times
A £500,000 art project, which ties-in with the London Olympics, is seeking people’s stories of home from across East Anglia.
The multi-media On Languard Point idea includes a People’s Encyclopaedia for the stories to go in.
Artist Robert Pacitti said: “The whole project is set up to be participatory.”
Other events include a concert by Michael Nyman and archaeological digs aided by Cambridge University’s Carenza Lewis, who used to be in Time Team.
The multi-media series of events is part of the Cultural Olympiad which aims “to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012”.
The East Anglian project, which is named after the spit of land at Felixstowe, covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
It will also lead to the creation of a film and giant public feasts inspired by a project cookbook.
Mr Pacitti, 43, said: “We want you to tell us what you think of as home.
“What does it mean? What does it mean to live here, now? What are our memories of home? What can we share?
“I grew up in Ipswich and used to get taken to the American air bases, so I’d probably write some of my memories about that.”
Memories can be submitted using postcards at the various live events or via the On Landguard Point website.
There will be 205 entries for the encyclopaedia - signifying the number of countries taking part in the Olympics.
Another part of the project involves lining the East Anglian coast with 205 flags.
People are also being asked to dig up a square metre of their gardens.
The Dig & Sow part of the project will register 205 sites.
Ms Lewis, director of Access Cambridge Archaeology, said: “I grew up [near Bungay] looking for fossils of the animals that lived in the prehistoric seas of East Anglia.
“We’ll have archaeologists on-call if people ring up and say ‘Help, I’ve got a Sutton Hoo ship burial, what should I do next?’
“It’s amazing what turns up because, before about 50 years ago, rubbish wasn’t taken away, it was just put out the back.”
The project is funded by the Arts Council and Helen Lax, its regional director, said: “We’re hoping there will be a legacy after the Olympics that people have got involved, participated, volunteered or seen really great art.
“[Art and sport] are the two things that fire people up and there’s a misconception that you either like sport or you like art - people like both.
“We’re really good at the arts in this country, so the Cultural Olympiad is a chance to celebrate our cultural heritage with the rest of the world.”
Michael Nyman’s concert takes place at Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion on Friday, 23 September, 2011 and it features three sound commissions including the world premiere of a piece called On Landguard Point.
More about the concert:
World premiere of On Landguard Point by Michael Nyman
Performed by Michael Nyman & The Michael Nyman Band
With guest soprano Marie Angel When: Friday 23 September 2011 Time: 7:30pm Where: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, Suffolk