Maybe life isn’t so ugly.

31 August, 2008

I bought an album by Michael Nyman the other day called And Do They Do / Zoo Caprices, and like all his collaborations with the Michael Nyman Band, it is glorious. Especially Song I. As I’m working eight hours today and tomorrow dealing with all the new freshmen and everything irritating and disgusting that they bring into my life, I need something to remind me that the world isn’t always such an ugly place, and Michael Nyman’s music is just the thing to do that.

All I need to cure a spell of cynicism over the state of humanity is to put on a Michael Nyman track. I can’t quite explain why this is but I am always overcome with an overwhelming sense of joie de vivre. His off-kilter chord progressions and unusual instrumentations tug at my heartstrings in a way that no other contemporary composers do.

When he stopped working with Peter Greenaway and crossed into the mainstream with The Piano, neither of their work would be the same again. Nyman lost the opportunity to paint as vividly with his music — he was allowed to do whatever he wanted and was able to compose all his music before shooting — and Greenaway lost the one continuous element in his films that gave them heart and soul. No matter how cold and bleak his disposition was, Nyman was the final primary color that forced you to stay in Greenaway’s worlds. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, just imagine a Tim Burton film without Danny Elfman sans Sweeney Todd and Ed Wood. Yeah. Not the same, is it?

Here’s a selection from his final collaboration with Mr. Greenaway, Prospero’s Books. Doesn’t it just make you want to run outside and passionately kiss the first beautiful woman you see?

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