4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

San Diego Symphony goes multimedia

Beyond the score and in the spirit

Hartmann's Great Gate of Kiev. The gate on the left is in the shape of the traditional Russian women's  headdress. The tower on the right is a Slavonic helmet.
Hartmann's Great Gate of Kiev. The gate on the left is in the shape of the traditional Russian women's headdress. The tower on the right is a Slavonic helmet.

“I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.” — Mark 3:28-29 (CEV)

Before we get to the reason I’m bringing up the terror of an unforgivable sin, let’s go over what happened at Symphony Hall on Saturday night, January 9.

The San Diego Symphony presented an instalment of Beyond the Score which is a multiscreen exploration of music including live dramatic narration and musical examples. It’s kind of like Ken Burns meets TED with just a little bit of Radiolab. That’s the trifecta of docu-tation-tainment.

Vladimir Stassov
Modest Mussorgsky
Victor Hartmann

Beyond the Score (BTS) was developed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and there are over 25 installments in the series. You can visit their page to see which ones are available.

The subject of this BTS was Mussorgsky, Ravel, and their collaboration on Pictures at an Exhibition. Beyond the Score emphasized calling it Pictures from an Exhibition but the recording and printing industries all use “at,” as will I.

Mussorgsky wrote the original music for piano after going to an exhibition of 400 paintings, drawings, and sketches by his friend Victor Hartmann. Hartmann had died the previous year. The exhibition was produced by his and Mussorgsky’s mutual friend Vladimir Stassov.

The famous Promenade music represents Mussorgsky walking between the pieces and his emotions regarding them. Eventually the promenade music disappears as Mussorgsky enters the world of Hartmann’s imagination.

I could go on and on about the information in BTS because it filled the entire first hour of the concert. The presentation did a splendid job of exploring the music without revealing the music — which was the second half of the concert.

The performance of the orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Karina Canellakis, was one of those performances where you don’t exactly know what happened. I’ll give a few examples to help this point make sense.

We know what electricity does but science hasn’t, to my knowledge, discovered exactly what electricity is and why it does what it does.

We know some of what gravity does and we can measure it, but we don’t know what gravity is. There are no gravity particles for us to observe.

This performance was like a massive storm of gravity and electricity knit together by the unknown forces that create those phenomena.

We don’t really know what music is. We know that it is vibrations at different frequencies held for different lengths of time but that doesn’t explain what music is and why it makes our hair stand on end.

Video:

"Pictures at an Exhibition"

...Promenade, part 1, by Modest Mussorgsky

...Promenade, part 1, by Modest Mussorgsky

The BTS presentation provided an extra level of connection with Mussorgsky and the music. By the time we got to The Great Gate of Kiev, which is a powerful statement of the Promenade theme, it felt as though we were witnessing the apotheosis of a dear friend.

Yet beyond Beyond the Score, there are other forces at work which it would be blasphemy to deny.

Now we come to the unforgivable sin. For the record, I grew up terrified of accidentally committing the unforgivable sin, “but when I became a man I put childish things behind me.”

There is no getting around the feeling that there is a “spirit” in music. It’s not the Holy Spirit of the bible, or maybe it is, I don’t know. I do know that when performers and an audience get in tune with the spirit, that is contained in the music, we get a brief experience of what our true potential is.

The potential we have rests in interacting with each other on that nebulous mysteries level of “the spirit” — the spirit that rests silently in every piece of music waiting for us to interact with it.

There are some who might deny that there is a “spirit” in music but that, of course, is unforgivable.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Ryan Bowers’ posthumous collaboration with Crhymes

“His fingers kept twitching. His sweaty head was a little shaky. His lips were moving, but no words were coming out.”
Next Article

First fright

What possessed him to take a child to see a film with that title?
Hartmann's Great Gate of Kiev. The gate on the left is in the shape of the traditional Russian women's  headdress. The tower on the right is a Slavonic helmet.
Hartmann's Great Gate of Kiev. The gate on the left is in the shape of the traditional Russian women's headdress. The tower on the right is a Slavonic helmet.

“I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.” — Mark 3:28-29 (CEV)

Before we get to the reason I’m bringing up the terror of an unforgivable sin, let’s go over what happened at Symphony Hall on Saturday night, January 9.

The San Diego Symphony presented an instalment of Beyond the Score which is a multiscreen exploration of music including live dramatic narration and musical examples. It’s kind of like Ken Burns meets TED with just a little bit of Radiolab. That’s the trifecta of docu-tation-tainment.

Vladimir Stassov
Modest Mussorgsky
Victor Hartmann

Beyond the Score (BTS) was developed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and there are over 25 installments in the series. You can visit their page to see which ones are available.

The subject of this BTS was Mussorgsky, Ravel, and their collaboration on Pictures at an Exhibition. Beyond the Score emphasized calling it Pictures from an Exhibition but the recording and printing industries all use “at,” as will I.

Mussorgsky wrote the original music for piano after going to an exhibition of 400 paintings, drawings, and sketches by his friend Victor Hartmann. Hartmann had died the previous year. The exhibition was produced by his and Mussorgsky’s mutual friend Vladimir Stassov.

The famous Promenade music represents Mussorgsky walking between the pieces and his emotions regarding them. Eventually the promenade music disappears as Mussorgsky enters the world of Hartmann’s imagination.

I could go on and on about the information in BTS because it filled the entire first hour of the concert. The presentation did a splendid job of exploring the music without revealing the music — which was the second half of the concert.

The performance of the orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Karina Canellakis, was one of those performances where you don’t exactly know what happened. I’ll give a few examples to help this point make sense.

We know what electricity does but science hasn’t, to my knowledge, discovered exactly what electricity is and why it does what it does.

We know some of what gravity does and we can measure it, but we don’t know what gravity is. There are no gravity particles for us to observe.

This performance was like a massive storm of gravity and electricity knit together by the unknown forces that create those phenomena.

We don’t really know what music is. We know that it is vibrations at different frequencies held for different lengths of time but that doesn’t explain what music is and why it makes our hair stand on end.

Video:

"Pictures at an Exhibition"

...Promenade, part 1, by Modest Mussorgsky

...Promenade, part 1, by Modest Mussorgsky

The BTS presentation provided an extra level of connection with Mussorgsky and the music. By the time we got to The Great Gate of Kiev, which is a powerful statement of the Promenade theme, it felt as though we were witnessing the apotheosis of a dear friend.

Yet beyond Beyond the Score, there are other forces at work which it would be blasphemy to deny.

Now we come to the unforgivable sin. For the record, I grew up terrified of accidentally committing the unforgivable sin, “but when I became a man I put childish things behind me.”

There is no getting around the feeling that there is a “spirit” in music. It’s not the Holy Spirit of the bible, or maybe it is, I don’t know. I do know that when performers and an audience get in tune with the spirit, that is contained in the music, we get a brief experience of what our true potential is.

The potential we have rests in interacting with each other on that nebulous mysteries level of “the spirit” — the spirit that rests silently in every piece of music waiting for us to interact with it.

There are some who might deny that there is a “spirit” in music but that, of course, is unforgivable.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Lake Cuyamaca poplars, low fog at airport

Natural San Diego Oct. 26 - Nov. 1
Next Article

How Otay changed, secret TJ gardens, Mission Valley's future

San Diego State's Paseo project, building a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, downtown high rises never stop
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close