Mozart on the 405

The San Diego Freeway (I-405) at Night

My two best friends each live 25 miles away: Bill K, in Altadena; and Peter J, in San Pedro. This afternoon I drove to San Pedro and discussed a film idea with Peter, whom I think is the ideal person to do a film about the whole hippie scene in Southern California in the late 1960s.

On the way back, I was listening to KUSC-FM. They were playing Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D, K. 626. Although I feel most partial to the 19th century romantic composers, Mozart strikes me as almost Godlike in the perfection of his music. The Requiem was composed in the last year of the composer’s life (1791) and eerily foresees his own upcoming death in abject poverty. There is a solemn magnificence to the Mass.

I felt quite strange driving in the L.A. traffic on the 405 at dusk, seeing the cars in front of, beside, and behind me almost as if they were notes in the symphony.

Frequently, I am powerfully moved by classical music. Pop music? Not at all. As I ascended the stairs to my apartment, my neighbor was playing some Mexican pop music that went BOOM BOOM BOOM with assorted moans and cries. No, there is no doubt where my preference lies.


Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands

This particular Hungarian has a warm place in his heart for the Highlands of Scotland. I have visited them several times beginning in 1976. In recent years, it has, like many things, become too expensive.

Another person who felt the same way was Francesco Barsanti (1690-1775), an Italian composer, flautist, and oboist who fell in love with the Highlands and lived most of his life in Britain.

Today, as I was returning home from the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax, I was listening to KUSC-FM and heard a piece called “Lochaber” by Barsanti, as played by a San Francisco-based group called Voices of Music, which calls itself America’s premier early music ensemble. I was enchanted and was delighted to catch the entire piece. Here it is, as performed by the Voices of Music:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. During my drives around the city, I keep my car radio tuned to KUSC-FM at 91.5, where the music is all classical all the time. If you would like to sample their programming, I recommend you go to their website and listen to their programming, which you can do from anyplace on earth. They have an international audience and have introduced me over the years to many of my favorite pieces.