By Joyce Morgan, May 24, 2011
THE composer Michael Nyman picks up his compact camera.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” he says.
Exactly what is so fascinating about the garbage truck that has pulled up before us at the Sydney Park Brickworks isn’t apparent.
But he has been filming such vignettes for years on his hand-held camera. A drunken man struggling to put on his tie, the aftermath of a bullfight and a derelict but once-magnificent Mexican cinema are among the scenes that have captured his attention.
“I feel very privileged and snoopy,” he says. “I like the accident of the thing happening in front of me, setting up a frame and just allowing what transpires.”
Filmmaking is the lesser known side of Nyman’s oeuvre. He is best known for his film scores, including for Jane Campion’s The Piano and Peter Greenaway’s The Draftsman’s Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.
Both sides will be on show in Sydney this week in a series of events that include the world premiere of a musical composition, a public lecture and screenings of his films.
Award-winning composer Michael Nyman has been honoured with the annual Classical Music Award at the Ivor Novello awards at Grosvenor House. This award marks his distinguished career as one of Britain’s most successful composers.
Michael Nyman will unveil a world premiere work titled Doing the Rounds at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as the Con’s International Marquee Composer 2011.
When: May 27 - 28, 2011
NYMan With A Movie Camera at the MoMa, Sun May 8th
AS MANY EYES AS A MAN CAN HAVE
by Kenton Turk | The Art Resort
Dziga Vertov’s legendary and highly influential 1929 wordless documentary Man With A Camera receives a tribute and update at once with Michael Nyman’s attempt at “a truly international absolute language”, the original’s stated intention. Where Vertov’s camera captured life in Soviet cities only, Nyman is able to take the aim one step further, reflecting our modern world: here, the locales themselves give evidence of today’s accepted international interaction. 26 countries and territories are listed in the credits, and Nyman’s camera moves as freely between continents as it does between social classes, activities and cinematic devices. What appears at times to be haphazard collage shows abundant evidence of clever segues that imply plays-on-words or various views of a single subject.
Facing Goya is a taut thriller that follows one woman’s passionate search for the 18th Century Spanish artist Goya’s missing skull. Her journey takes us into the dangerous world of racial stereotyping, gene therapy, cloning and humankind’s follies as seen through Goya’s paintings, etchings and captions. The idea for the opera arose from Michael Nyman’s fascination with the insidious study of craniometry that developed in the 1870s.
Goya was regarded as one of the greatest painters of his time. Buried in Bordeaux, legend has it that he asked friends to ensure his head was removed prior to burial to prevent the early craniometrists and researchers of eugenics from getting hold of his brain.
Box Set includes Full Libretto and extensive booklet notes.
Contains FREE BONUS CD of highlights of Michael Nyman’s two previously released operas on MN Records.
Release date: 26 April 2011