I’ve been to see Michael Nyman perform twice in the past few months. The first, in December, was an intimate solo piano concert at the Islington Assembly hall. In this Nyman enchanted with many of his most famous pieces; starting with some of my very favourites from the soundtrack of Wonderland (a favourite film too) and a range of other works including is sublime soundtrack to The Piano.
This week’s concert was quite a contrast; this time he was playing with his twelve-piece Michael Nyman band. The programme featured Nyman’s ‘rewriting’ of baroque music and featured works from soundtracks such as ‘The Draghtsman’s Contract’ and ‘The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover’. The energy on display from the band was extraordinary, and it was difficult to believe that the wall of sound was being produced by just 11 instruments plus Nyman at the piano (from where he conducted as well as playing). By the interval my favourite piece was Time Lapse from ‘A Zed and Two Noughts’, but I was blown away by the final work of the evening, extracts from ‘Water Dances’. A further treat was in store for the encore when a soprano joined the band on the stage for a piece that was unfortunately not listed in the programme, so I have detective work on my hands to find out what it was.
Two incredible concerts. I will have my eyes open for when Nyman is performing in the UK next, and will be making a few music purchases in the meantime.