Michael Nyman is one of my favorite minimalist composers - heck he invented the term 'minimalism' - and, apart from his soggy score to the film "The Piano" (his most popular work, of course) he's been a visionary pioneer in the field of experimental "alternative classical" music. But this 1986 opera is pretty weird even for Nyman. As somewhat of a follow-up to my "athientertainment" post from last week that WFMU said "could make even an avowed athiest hate evolution," this work demonstrates the difficulty of making music about science.
It's based on the popular book by Dr. Oliver Sacks about bizarre neurological disorders. Sure, there's some great music - the melody introduced in "(That's Why) I'm Here" is excellent. But hearing an opera singer belting out lines like "He's mistaken his wife for a haaaaaat!" is, well, odd. And kinda funny, tho I don't think it's meant to be. That's edu-tainment!
Michael Nyman - "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat"
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