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Creativity’s Lightning Edge

35a24ce0-5d53-4ae2-b623-923fbf5a55c8Spiritus Chamber Choir pushes the envelope of choral music into mystical quadrants of unearthly beauty. The Calgary ensemble under the tireless and curious direction of Timothy Schantz delivers consistently superb singing – often of sublime repertoire – having given us the Rachmaninoff Vespers last year. But last Sunday, they went to a new edge with “Northern Lights” at the Eckhartt-Gramatte Hall at U of C.

And that leads us to Snowforms by R. Murray Shafer. That’s the score pictured above! Hearing these seamless swoops and glides of the female voices at first, and having sung myself, I was trying to imagine how such a slippery and ethereal sound could have been communicated and coordinated by conventional musical notation. The answer? It can’t. And isn’t.

The Canadian composer writes “I once flew over the north from Vancouver to London on a rare clear night, and …”

It isn’t easy to interpret. The Choir went on a special retreat north of Calgary to perfect the piece! Here’s a version for you to listen to – it’s short – just over 6 minutes. [I don’t know what that dot in the middle of the link is]

What’s the point? The point is that it is sometimes necessary to transcend existing forms to express an otherwise inexpressible notion. It can be true in business as well as art. That we have an idea so undeniable that we cannot be stopped by the lack of a present and easy means to make it real. So we let the concept dictate the form instead of the other way around.

The balance of the concert was just as inspired – and proudly Canadian. The dazzling Everlasting Light by Christof Hatsis left a quietened reverent audience mesmerized.

Centred as it was on the Aurora Borealis, images of these eerie illuminations danced above the heads of the singers. And the minty green and violet were echoed in the dark auditorium as the audience held aloft those children’s day-glo wands that you pinch to activate. Another inspired creative addition.
This one reflecting another avenue to creative expression. If you are up against a tangled problem, reflect on approaches used in other domains and adapt a concept to solve it. Here, a child’s novelty from Halowe’en to animate nightspace with echoes of ghostly light so that we made our own Northern Lights.

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

One Response to “Creativity’s Lightning Edge”

  • David Sweeney says:

    Doug, I have never seen your blogs before. Davey had led me to believe that they are very wide ranging and not limited to business/organisational issues. I am impressed by your fine description of your evening with the Spiritus choir. I have wanted to go to hear them since I heard from the husband of one of the choir members’ husbands. He is a prof at the UofC who I induced to come to lead a Cochrane IDEAS evening with us. He was very biased because of his wife’s active part in it, telling me that it was the best choir in the world!!

    I hope you are having a fine weekend in Banff with Elaine.


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What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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