Spotlight - On Marjan Mozetich, Mario Bernardi and Musical Rapture

Early yesterday afternoon, CBC Radio 2 was celebrating the life of Mario Bernardi, a longtime conductor for the National Arts Centre, Calgary Philharmonic and CBC Radio Orchestras, who passed away the previous Sunday. In remembrance of him, a former colleague of his suggested playing his recording of Postcards from the Sky, a piece by Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich as performed by the CBC Vancouver Orchestra.

It was the first time I had heard anything by Mozetich, let alone Postcards... itself, and from the the very first notes of its first section, "Unfolding Sky," I was absolutely entranced. I had been somewhat idly listening to the program while reading on my computer and all of a sudden my eyes were losing focus and I was entirely caught up in the piece. I felt like Luisa Rey hearing Robert Frobisher's Cloud Atlas Sextet for Orchestra, and while it didn't call upon some past life I might have had I nevertheless felt somehow transported.

Perhaps it just caught me at the right moment. Perhaps my recently offset sleep schedule put me in a sensitive/wonky frame of mind. Regardless, I felt temporarily out of body,  Raptured in a non-Biblical sense. I'm not a spiritual person. I know great art isn't anything truly immaterial but the right set of elements composed in the right way. Yet, a piece like Postcards... and a novel like House of Leaves, from which this site takes its name and motif, are capable of transcending the digital or physical structures and forms to which they're bound. Likewise, they're capable of helping me transcend, of pulling me away from my current state of mind or the desk at which I sat for the duration of the piece.

The late sci fi author Arthur C. Clarke said that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I don't think technology is at play in this case, but surely someting empirical--be it pattern recognition, a sonically pleasing arrangement of tones, or a natural appreciation for good visual and musical composition--is at play and I'm simply unable to describe or let alone comprehend it. So like the God of the Gaps, it becomes a kind of real magic. And I'm okay with that.

Postcards from the Sky consists of the first three tracks on CBC Radio 2's official playlist for Mario Bernardi. I hope it will have the same effect on you as it did for me.

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