BACKSTORY: In 1980, before I gave up being a composer, I wrote a trio called The Pink Cactus Suite for three friends: violist Roland Kato, bassoonist John Steinmetz and bassist Janet Davis. After several performances the piece was forgotten.
TEN YEARS AGO I gave up being a composer. I decided that the work involved in live performances wasn't worth the payback. Lots of preparation, promotion and tension but afterwards I was not happy. I never felt there was really any communication going on. These days I'm much happier just making up music for my own enjoyment on my computer.
CUT TO THE PRESENT: Roland is now principal violist with the LA Chamber Orchestra. They produce a series of small house concerts - a few musicians and small audience in a nice living room followed by a good dinner. (Absolutely the proper way to hear chamber music.) Tonights event featured Roland and two colleagues from the orchestra (bassoonist Ken Munday and bassist Sue Ranney). They revived The Pink Cactus Suite. LACO asked me to attend to talk before the piece. In return I got sushi dinner. A fair deal.
The price I paid for this was doing things I had given up forever. I prepared a 5 minute speech while in the shower and while driving on the freeway. I attended a rehearsal. At the concert people seemed thrilled to have a composer around. I took a bow. I discussed the music afterwards. (One gentleman said the music reminded him of Stravinsky's Renard - everyone hears something different.)
Suppose you were a smoker who'd kicked the habit years ago. Then one night someone offers you a drag and you take it. The next day you wonder "Is this the beginning of a relapse?" (Probably not.)
In any case, I've been intending to set up a web page where I can post recordings of some of my music. There will be a rotating selection - The Pink Cactus Suite won't always be there. Something else will. Check it out.