It's been a while since I've posted to this blog, and school is to blame. Don't get me wrong, I am truly enjoying the many musical opportunities I'm getting here in Los Angeles, but lately I've barely had time for myself, much less anything else! That coupled with getting less than a decent night's sleep leaves me waking up in the morning not quite feeling like P. Diddy, in the words of one of Andy's favorite pop artists. None the less, my job has slowed down, as has the semester, so I should be getting back to doing this on an almost daily basis. About a week ago my partner, Andy came out for one of his bi-monthly visits. Despite my head being caught up in my job, papers, practice, performances, and the like, I decided to push it all aside for the weekend so that I could make the most of his visit. It turned out to be a good decision.
Being a student at USC does mean living in Los Angeles, but only geographically. The situation runs parallel, I think, to a song written by Charles Ives (a song that I love) titled "The Cage":
A leopard went around his cage
from one side back to the other side;
he stopped only when the keeper came around with meat;
A boy who had been there three hours
began to wonder, "Is life anything like that?"
Yes little boy, life is something like that. Since I've been here I can count the number of times I've done "touristy" things, like going to the beach and seeing some of the other sights, and Andy's visit gave me a reason to do some of those things. Southern California is nothing new to him - he did his undergraduate at Pepperdine, but coming out here is still something out of the ordinary for him. From traveling down to Del Mar and sitting on the cool beach, to partying in WeHo, I got to experience some of Los Angeles through him, and it awakened my senses. It's common for people to say "wake up and smell the coffee", but on his visit, I woke up and smelled the sand.
Music has gone through a few awakenings in the past, and specific composers have captured their art through personal muses. One that comes to mind for me is Vivaldi, nicknamed "the red priest". Every bassoonist knows this composer for his numerous bassoon concerti, but we all are familiar with his "Four Seasons", specifically the "Spring" movement:
In a nutshell, Vivaldi was a teacher and composer, and wrote many of his works for the all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, which was an orphanage. He may have just been in it for the money (and if so, I can't say that I blame him), but I would like to believe that he wrote this music specifically for the purpose of enlightening those young girls, serving as a muse. For a young girl who seems to have nothing, music creates an outlet to something larger than us all.
As you're going through your days, weeks, months, and years, escape from "The Cage" you're pacing in and find your muse. Get in touch with that person, place, thing, or idea that unleashes your thoughts, and gives you a break from waiting around for another proverbial hunk of meat. "The Seasons" in your life may not always be set on spring, but it's always good to set everything down and smell the roses, coffee, or in my case, sand. As my life rolls on, I think more and more about how thankful I am for finding my "awesome" personal muse.
Listening to: Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1