Monday, February 26, 2007

BSO Multimedia

We slogged through a snow storm on Sunday to hear the the East Coast Premier of the Fanz Lanting and Philip Glass multimedia concert, Life: A Journey Through Time. The hall was only one-third full, but you knew that the music lovers were there, come rain or snow.

The concert was proceeded by the Capital Quartet, an amazing four musicians---one clarinet and three saxophones. They were an exciting surprise. Their sound and liveliness was very engaging. Great energy, good musical piece. Maestra Alsop was really swinging to the music. I would like to hear them again.

Then the great premier began. Three screens, each about 18' high and 20' wide hung over the stage, a huge triptych of canvases. I always love being in the concert hall. I don't think I have yet heard something I really disliked, except some rare chamber music piece that just doesn't activate the pleasure gene. My education in music is thin, so I am just a lover of music. I don't know why. I can say that this evening was wonderful, moving, and the music gorgeous. It seems, pictorially, a triumph in breadth and the expression of themes: Elements, Into the Air and Beginnings, Out of the Sea, On Land, Out of the Dark, Planet of Life. I was wondering what a Christianist would have to say about this "science" of the beginnings that was visualized in such detail, miniscule detail.

My problem with the presentation was that it seemed like so much old technology. Lanting's photos scanned across screens in all directions, choreographed to the Glass music. But somehow, the pictures were so National Geographic, so expected that there was no sense of surprise for me. It was as if I was watching one huge screen saver. There I was in the concert hall watching my iMac desktop screen saver! The photos were just so saturated and unsurprising. So perfect. It was soothing and beautiful and the music was lush and wonderful; But, it seemed to me even the Maestra lost energy in her conducting.

The movies and technology of animation are so spectacular today, that in contrast, the concert film looked dated. I must say it was nice to have things slowed down. It has its merit. And, too, the journey taken was a powerful one. I had a deep sense of the beginnings of life that I haven't had before. Just watching those acid green pools of genetic stew was very expanding. I feel very lucky to have seen the concert.

And I must say it was quite a contrast to my evening before at Port in the Storm!

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