Vic Hoyland

NMT Michaelangelo Review

Michaelangelo (NMT)

Andrew Clements, Financial Times, 1982

Michelagniolo is a portrait of Michelagniolo Buonarotti, drawing a text from his letters, poems and inscriptions and its title from the artist's own mis-spelling of his name in a letter written two months before his death. It's an attempt, says Hoyland, "to unite various episodes from his life and work, and present, not simply a 'biography', but a vision of the opposite poles in the Italian's personality." Michelagniolo's words are given largely to the male soloist (in this premiere the admirably committed David Sawer ) who bestrides the orchestra, Inori like, on a raised platform, adopting a vocabulary of physical gestures derived by Hoyland from a study of the Sistine frescoes and sculptures.

The overriding impact of Michelagniolo is of passion barely contained, a sense of artistic achievement under the most extreme psychological doubts about human fulfilment, about death.

Hoyland cocoons his soloist in a fiercesome barrage of sound, an ensemble in which wind predominates;

Michelagniolo contains some thrilling effects and riveting orchestral writing. Hoyland's music has a muscularity which the ultimate soft centre of the Berio balances well.