A Symphonic Approach to Communication

I went to the Symphony last week for a lovely multi-media performance of  Peer Gynt.  It was conducted by the wonderful Michael Tilson Thomas and featured lush music by different composers interspersed with actors and singers telling the story of Peer Gynt and his trail of destruction, and eventual salvation through a good woman, of course. Overhead, beautiful films of wild Scandinavian landscapes, seascapes and industrial scenes were projected onto a kind of silvery mesh.

What struck me was how well the different pieces worked together. The music set the tone, the actors elaborated on the story and the video created moods, hinted at the passing of time and gave us insight into the motivation and emotions of the characters. None of it was repetitious, there was no borrowing of the actors words to project onto the video mesh and no heavy handed spelling out of the years at sea beyond the music and images. Each piece supported the others by being the best version of itself that it could be.

That’s how I’d like to see different communication or content pieces working. Each could stand alone but together they reflect different angles, expose different views and probably appeal to different audiences. The message remains the same but the expression of the message was varied and all the more interesting for that.  It’s probably a bit much to ask that white papers and case studies be as beautiful as Grieg’s music or the singing of the SF Symphony Chorus, but I’m definitely hooked on the idea of a whole that can be bigger than its parts.


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