Beyond ‘Tristan’

By Noel Morris |

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One of the more innovative efforts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in recent years has been the concert series Beyond the Score. It’s an opportunity to peel the curtain back on a composition, on a composer’s mindset, and on their interaction with orchestral instruments. Each show combines musical excerpts, narration, and visuals to examine a single piece of music. After intermission, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra typically plays the work intact.

This timeBeyond the Score creator Gerard McBurney will have to break format — it’s impossible to perform the present work, Tristan und Isolde, within the timeframe of a concert. It should be said that the research for these shows is so extensive, one couldn’t possibly share all there is to know about a piece in the first place. The problem grows exponentially when dealing with this four-and-a-half-hour opera that so dramatically altered our reality.

For this web-exclusive video, Gerard McBurney tells us about things that didn’t make the show, trusting that this little tease will send you right down to Symphony Center so that you can journey even deeper into this wonder-filled opera.