If the artistic insights revealed in Daniel Anker's Music from the Inside Out (booked for a short run at Landmark's E Street Cinema) aren't particularly profound, the snips of music woven into the documentary are at times thrilling.
The 2004 film asks members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, in interviews and just by following them around, what it's like to be a professional musician in one of the top Western-tradition orchestras of the world.
As you might expect of people whose art is non-verbal, some of the spoken responses are rather pedestrian, and you won't learn anything new about participating in a group undertaking—be it theater, square dance, or softball.
The mass interviews are particularly stultifying. However, co-producer and timpanist Don Liuzzi's interview passages are quite engaging.
No, what's fun about this movie is observing the many ways that these musicians find ways to make and hear music everywhere, all the time.
We listen to first-chair trombonist Nitzam moonlighting in a salsa combo, and violinist Zach cutting loose with "Orange Blossom Special" in a bluegrass band.
The traveling symphonists find street musicians: someone playing a glass harmonica, an accordionist playing Vivaldi in Cologne.
Concertmaster David Kim (who gave up a faltering solo career to join the orchestra) leads a retreat in which participants listen to the sounds of nature and the spaces between the sounds.
And there are stirring clips from the Orchestra's repertory: works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Brahms, a haunting contemporary piece by Chinese composer Tan Dun, "Concerto for String Orchestra and Pipa."