MICHAEL NYMAN (b.1944): Facing Goya.
Catalogue Number: 06M089
Label: Michael Nyman Records
Description: Nyman and his librettist, Victoria Hardie, construct an historical 'opera of ideas' rather than one with conventional human characters and relationships. The character of Goya is used as a convenient plot device on account of the fact of his skull having gone missing from his coffin, and his beautiful paintings and drawings of the grotesque, monstrous and nightmarish. The underlying concept of the piece is the pseudo-science of Eugenics and its misuse to promote ideas of master-races and genetic underclasses, and the potentially related implications in the future of the decoding and manipulation of the human genome, and genetic engineering. The music is very identifiably based on vintage Nyman, with the obsessively insistent minimalist pulsing - an amalgam of a non-classical beat and Dutch ensemble minimalism more than the slowly morphing patterning of the New York minimalists. There is a greater degree of harmonic freedom and dissonance here and there, than in some of Nyman's more 'conventional' music of the intervening years, but the basic vocabulary is very much that of A Z and 2 0s, with the added dimension of the composer's undeniable melodic gift, familiar from his Prospero's Books. Winnie Böwe, Marie Angel (sopranos), Hilary Summers (contralto), Harry Nicoll (tenor), Omar Ebrahim (baritone), Michael Nyman Band; Michael Nyman.