Music from the Inside Out
Produced and Directed by Daniel Anker)
about orchestra music focus on the conductor, the composer, or the
Anker, in the documentary film "Music from the Inside
Out," follows a group of musicians from the renowned Philadelphia
Symphony Orchestra and asks them the tough questions. The big, ponderous,
philosophical questions that help us understand what it means to
devote one's life and profession to playing music.
interviews of a select group of musicians, this film offers insight
into the reasons these musicians play. Enter the violinist who went
through junior and senior high school explaining that the mark on
her neck was not a hickey, but a mark left from thousands of hours
spent playing a violin tucked under her chin.
German trombonist with a love for Latin dance music.
quiet young woman who becomes a wild-woman percussionist.
violist who became a violist because his school was out of violins.
entire cast, each with different stories and different approaches
to the same love.
about this film, Anker describes the difficulty of getting musicians
to answer questions such as, "What is music?" But he focuses the
conversations to explain each person's personal attachment to music,
while illustrating the different paths each took to become a member
of one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world.
the film. During a conversation with a violist in a fine Italian
restaurant, a waiter breaks out in a stunning tenor aria from Mozart's
"The Marriage of Figaro."
In my favorite
scene, the entire orchestra enjoys a fine meal in a restaurant during
a European tour. Someone comes to the table, saying they must hear
the accordion player busking for tips on the sidewalk outside. We
follow the musicians out of the restaurant to find a young man playing
Vivaldi's "Spring" from The Four Seasons on
Sight and Sound
the music is stunning and the conversations insightful, the visual
qualities of this film are also striking, especially during performance
footage. Many times when I see an orchestra on film, the musicians
look spectral, on the verge of becoming ghostly, due to the overhead
lighting they need to see the score. Acker, in the performance footage,
spent substantial time and resources to light the orchestra in such
a way that the musicians look warm and alive.
is unfortunate that during the screening of the film at the Full
Frame Documentary Film Festival, the projection experienced
such critical technical problems that the film had to be rescheduled,
thereby removing it from competition.
they rescheduled the screening. Unfortunately, it was after the
judging for the festival's prizes. Had this not happened, the outcome
of the event's final awards might have been different. "Music
from the Inside Out" is aptly titled. It pulls us in to
a world we rarely see through the eyes of the musicians who live
there, propelling us into the the experience of playing in a world
Pavey is a published poet, musician, teacher at North Carolina's
summer Governor's School and correspondent for Bestfilmfests.com.
more information on Music from the Inside Out visit
the website of the Philadelphia