18.10.05

Michael Nyman


Michael Nyman, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I used to have a head massage to Gattaca or Carrington (it's Lemon Jelly these days) and last night's concert by Michael Nyman at the Dome was an aural massage. There was the odd thumping piece, reminiscent of his early pounding classics like The Draughtsman's Contract and Zed and Two Noughts but mostly it was how slow can you go with his recent film works from 1993 onwards: Wonderland, Diary of Anne Frank and his greatest hit, The Piano. It was as the ticket said: The Piano Sings. Like Man with the Movie Camera at the Festival Hall back in 2002, he played along to black and white films: first off a series of East End photos by Phil Maxwell, then at the end of the first half (over a backing track) to Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler's poetic Manhatta, complete with Titanic lookalike and fabulous steam engines. At the end of the second half (after songs from The Piano) we had Jean Vigo's surrealist A propos de Nice, and then a couple of encores. In between was a distracting blank blue screen (echoes of Derek Jarman?), but after the disappointment of my last Nyman outing, to Man and Boy: Dada at the Almeida last year, this was sublime. And I even got him to autograph my new CD in the Colonnade bar afterwards.

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