Michael Nyman – (The Piano) The Heart Ask Pleasure First (sheet music)

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    Michael Nyman – (The Piano) The Heart Ask Pleasure First (sheet music)

    Nyman, Michael (born1944).

    British composer, pianist and conductor, born on March 23, 1944, in London. An internationally recognized artist, especially for his collaborations with the British director Peter Greenaway, for whom he has made several of his soundtracks, he received, however, the definitive accolade as a result of the success obtained with the music composed (and performed by himself) for New Zealand film director Jan Campion, The Piano.

    Defined by many critics as a “minimalist” composer (see Musical Minimalism), his music has a modular and repetitive architecture, something like rescuing the essence of classical baroque and rejuvenating it with the possibilities offered by technology and the concept of elaboration of the current music.

    In any case, it is a clear example that an artist considered experimental can reach high levels of popularity and be recognized by an audience not exactly accustomed to listening to music belonging to a restricted and specialized circle, which barely fill a small room of camera, but massively buys his records (he has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, despite being, in most cases, soundtracks) and fills stage spaces typical of the great rock stars.

    Even some of his works, especially in the case of the work for The piano, are considered the most beautiful in the history of cinematography, with the permission of names like Ennio Morricone or Henry Mancini. It is, in short, an exceptional case within contemporary music.

    A prolific author, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at King’s College in London, under the tutelage of composer Alan Bush and Thurston Dart, a musicologist specializing in the English Baroque. With the latter he was introduced to the study of the canon of the music of the s. XVI and XVII, in its repetitive style and in its lines of counterpoint, which produced a clear influence on the future musical conception of his compositions.

    He even traveled to Romania in his search for the musical traditions of European folklore. After graduating, his interest in music led him to work as a music critic for publications such as The Listener , New Statesman and The Spectator . However, during this period he collaborated with some artists, such as Steve Reich and The Flying Lizards.

    In 1974, he wrote a book, titled Experimental Music. Cage & Beyond , which was a study of the influence of John Cage on a generation of composers and performers and which also produced a clear influence on Michael Nyman himself, who soon opted for the Los Angeles composer.

    In 1976, he accepted the invitation of Harrison Birtwistle, music director of the British National Theatre, to arrange some popular Venetian compositions from the 19th century. XVIII; For this, he used medieval instruments designed with a reinforcement in the basses, with which he created a very characteristic sound that he used in all his later work. The experience encouraged him to recruit a series of musicians with whom he formed a band that, in the early years of the eighties of the s. XX, it would become the Michael Nyman Band, with which he would perform most of his compositions.

    the piano sheet music
    Film Music for piano

    A short time later, in 1982, he began one of the most fruitful collaborations of his career, the one with Greenaway, who, after a series of short and medium-length films, embarked on the task of making a feature film, The Cartoonist’s Contract , whom he wanted to illustrate with the music of the English composer.

    The mutual collaboration produced a symbiosis that has been the best of Greenaway’s work, in such a way that one cannot be understood without the other, with titles such as A Zed and Two Noughts (1985), Drowning by Numbers ( Conspiración de mujeres en España , 1988), The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover (1989) and Prospero’s Books (1991). In them, Nyman developed the essence of his concept of music, based not only on an obsessive repetition, but on a tide of instrumental touches (beats -almost thumps-of keyboards, hard chords of alto clarinets and baritone sax, and an extreme play which doubles the high and low octaves).

    The influences of Mozart and Brahms are evident, and thus he was recognized in his acclaimed 1986 opera The man who lost his wife and his hat.

    the piano sheet music

    In 1990, for his part, he composed Six Celan Songs , a work based on the poems of Paul Celan soundtrack Prospero’s Books .

    1992 was the year of THE PIANO, his work, as has already been said, most acclaimed. Campion’s film has four main characters: the mute woman who leaves her homeland to marry a man she doesn’t know in New Zealand, her cheeky daughter, the man who agrees to bring her forgotten piano on the beach, and the piano itself; and it is not a gratuitous statement, the piano becomes the protagonist of the story, and everything revolves around it.

    This being so, Michael Nyman tells the story through the keys of a piano that exerts a powerful influence on the protagonists, especially since Ada (HollyHunter), who cannot speak, uses it as a mode of expression. The melodies thus become rowers in the protagonist’s obsessive world, in pieces admirably composed and performed by Nyman (and masterfully “performed” by the American actress), and which possess outstanding strength and beauty.

    Apart from the pieces for a solo piano, the soundtrack is completed with pieces for two pianos, for chamber ensemble, for soprano saxophone and strings, and for soprano saxophone and string quartet.

    After the success of El piano, Nyman composed other works that, to a greater or lesser extent, have contributed to his being considered one of the most respected authors of the so-called new age, despite the fact that his style is not clearly in in the canons of the mixed bag that this movement supposes.

    His latest works include The Upside-Down Violin (with the Orquesta Andalusí de Tetuán, 1992), Time Will Peonounce (1992), Musique a Grande Vitesse (1993), Yamamoto Perpetuo (based on a work by Alexander Balanescu, 1993), Tango for Tim (1994), String Quartet No. 4 (1995), Harpsichord Concerto (with Elisabeth Chojnacka), Where the Bees Dance (saxophone concerto) and the soundtracks of the Carrington (by Christopher Hampton, where he personalizes each piece with the characters that surrounded the life of the painter Dora Carrington, 1995) and Gatacca (by Andrew Niccol, a futuristic epic about a possible and, at the same time, terrifying tomorrow, 1997).

    In 1996, in a curious note of his career, he composed for British Channel 4 The Final Score ( The final result ), a tribute to one of his passions, football, and in particular his favorite team, the Queen’s Rangers. Park.


    1978: Decay Music (Obscure).
    1982: Michael Nyman (Sheet).
    1987: The Kiss and Other Movements (Editions EG).
    1989: Michael Nyman: Box Set (Venture).
    1988: And They Do / Zoo Caprices (TER).
    1992: The Essential Michael Nyman (Argo / Decca).
    1993: The Will Pronounce (Argo / Decca).
    1993: The Piano ( El piano ) (Virgin).
    1995: Michael Nyman Live (Virgin).
    1995: Carrington (Argo).
    1996: AET ( After Extra Time ) (Virgin).
    1997: Concertos for harpsichord, bassoon and horn (EMI).
    1998: Gattaca (Virgin).
    1998: The Suit & the Photograph (EMI).
    2000: Facing Goya .
    2003: Sangam .

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