Showing posts with label arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arts. Show all posts

13 August 2011

ARTS - Schubert's 10th Symphony

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This evening, Paz, Donna and I visited Snape Maltings for an evening of classical music. Schubert's unfinished 10th Symphony gave me unexpected food for thought.

The programme at Snape included pieces by Rachmaninoff and Lutoslawski as well, however Schubert's 10th Symphony was never completed and what we heard tonight was a reworking by Berio from the existing manuscript fragments.

Rather than fill the gaps in the style of Schubert, Berio chose instead to link the fragments using a very different and much more modern style. He incorporated the celeste in the additions, which lends an airy, ethereal quality and makes it very clear to the listener that these sections are not by Schubert.

Restored Roman potteryThis reminded me of the way ancient Greek or Roman pottery is restored for display in a museum. Usually, instead of trying to reconstruct the original in every detail, the restoration uses a slightly different colour and reduces or eliminates any attempt to recreate the details of texture, pattern and finish. In this way the overall shape and size of the article is clear, but the original sections and the restored parts are easily distinguished. Exactly the same approach is used for tessellated pavements and painted wall plaster.

Another example is the presentation of images from the Hubble Space Telescope where gaps are filled in using lower resolution sections from other telescopes.

So why did this give me food for thought?

We find much the same principle at work when we try to understand the nature of the Almighty and of the things he is doing in our universe. We have clear fragments - for example we know that his nature is to love - but we also have to fill some gaps.

Why is this? It has nothing to do with him withholding information. It has everything to do with our inability to grasp the fullness of the truth. His nature is beyond our capabilities to fathom. We have the overall 'shape' of his nature, a flavour if you will. And we have some of the detail, aspects that we can understand despite our limitations. So our picture is partly the full truth and partly an approximation.

The danger we face is often in thinking our filled-in approximations are the real thing. They are not! Always, always it's necessary to remind ourselves that we don't know as we are known. And the assumptions we make are frequently the causes of our disagreements.

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25 February 2011

ARTS - Musical chess!

I thought this was rather neat. Jonathan W Stokes has been experimenting with ways of turning famous chess games into music. It's amusing to see how he does it and the results provide surprisingly good listening.

'The Immortal Game' part way throughSo how did he do it?

The process he chose is quite straightforward. He noticed that there are eight columns of squares on a chess board and also eight notes in a musical octave.

With some rather clever adjustments and using the values of the chess pieces to determine how long each note should be, he transcribed the chess notation into musical scores and then played them on a piano.

Here's my favourite - 'The Immortal Game' played in June 1851, and this is how it sounds on the piano.

Rather delightful!

The full details and a further two examples of the music are available on Jonathan's blog. And if you enjoyed Chess Music you might also like Jonathan's Fibonacci Music!

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