Saturday, November 24, 2012

Notes From Los Angeles

This is my last day in Los Angeles. It wasn't supposed to be, but our flights were first delayed, and then changed to a four-hour-long night flight that leaves at 10:00 p.m. Four hours from LA to Indianapolis: amazing!

So I will use This bit of extra time, time that I had already set aside for reflection, to muse a bit. I'm not at the airport. I'm in Rachel's comfortable apartment with sweet LA breezes rarely cooling the air below 72 degrees. Such comfort is something I could get used to.

I wonder if I could ever actually get work done without elements to fight; elements harsher than crawling in traffic and searching for adequate employment, that is. I set my query about composing in Los Angeles out into the easy breezes of the internet, and found this fascinating article by Mark Northam about writing film music in Los Angeles. It's from 2010, but I believe it is still current. I found the comments as interesting as the article.

There have been lots of musicians who have thrived in this environment, but many of them, like the great film composers of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, had the stress of constant activity to keep them on their toes. They were stimulated by the imaginations of the people they worked with, including excellent studio musicians. They also, for the most part, made good livings. Many of them had endured enough harshness in Europe to last a lifetime.

Heifetz and his "crowd" lived here too. I imagine his stress was internal, and this climate might have worked as a perfect kind of balance. Likewise with Schoenberg and Stravinsky.

The historic buildings and houses are fascinating, partially because nothing historic really looks old (aside from the 1818 house downtown, the oldest building in the city). The sidewalks look like they were poured last week, but they have stamps that reveal that they are from the 1920s. The mix of the old and the new, the kaleidoscope of cultures, and the cornucopia of foods (including apples that taste like apples, and avocado on every salad) add a great deal to this dreamscape.

I wonder what Los Angeles in actual retrospect (once we return to the Midwest in the wee hours of the morning) will feel like.

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