Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

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the images of Desert Wind

March 07, 2007

Dear readers,
hope all is well with you. Today I’d like to share with you the extramusical images evoked in me by Desert Wind.

Some of these images I had in mind prior to composing. Others I started seeing well after the fact, having already written passages of music with no apparent programmatic purpose. The funny thing about the latter is that one has no way of knowing if and when the brain becomes aware of an extramusical connection. Sometimes that realization happens within hours or days after composing, other times – and this just happened to me with another piece – it can take years!

Also, conveying such images to somebody else can be tricky business. A musical passage which I might associate with the Santa Anas roaring through the streets could very well remind you of a guy with a leaf blower … but, here they are anyway, in no particular order:

  • an aerial shot of Downtown LA
  • Santa Ana warnings
  • the Santa Anas kicking up leaves in the city’s avenues
  • the cultural treasures and resources of LA
  • the glamour of Hollywood
  • a lively conversation between 2 Angelenos
  • the ethnic flavor of LA
  • driving on Wilshire by night
  • a montage of free-flowing traffic (wishful thinking …)
  • sudden, powerful gusts of wind
  • the gentle sound of wind chimes
  • palm leaves rustling in the wind
  • LA at dawn, followed by sunrise
  • a powerful Santa Ana storm
  • quiet after the storm

Perhaps, listening to Desert Wind will trigger other, entirely different images in you. Should that happen, I’d love to hear about them!

Last week I delivered the score for Desert Wind to LACO. Next time I’ll tell you about my experiences with deadlines …

In the meantime, keep the music alive,

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