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Mr Bean, Sir Simon Rattle, and the London Symphony Orchestra playing ‘Chariots of Fire’ at the Olympics Opening Ceremony was a comedy highlight for many. Not for film music composer Michael Nyman...
British film composer Michael Nyman wasn’t best pleased with director Danny Boyle’s choice of tunes at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. He took issue with the much-talked about performance of Chariots of Fire, performed by Sir Simon Rattle, the London Symphony Orchestra, and their newest member: Mr Bean.
He was disappointed to see one of Britain’s master orchestras being ridiculed by Mr Bean’s slapstick performance, and having Vangelis’ soundtrack billed as one of the most significant musical moments of the evening. The London Symphony Orchestra’s unorthodox performance of the piece was one of the most talked about events of the ceremony, prompting a spike in social media activity.
“You take Simon Rattle and the LSO to play not music by a British composer but by Vangelis, a Greek,” he said. “What was the thought, if any, behind this?”
Hopefully Nyman took comfort from the many other references to British classical music throughout the ceremony. His soundtrack to The Piano wasn’t featured, but music from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ from the Enigma Variations, and Parry’s Jerusalem all proved that Britain’s music has a serious side – as well as the ability to laugh at itself.