Posted by: Juliann Budimir | September 29, 2010

Love Notes

Once, there were bubbles.  Large, white spheres that hung like notes from the top of the shell of the Hollywood Bowl.  From their smooth, white surface, the passionate refrain was amply reflected back to me where I sat, halfway up the hillside in full view of the stage.  Listening to the Mendelssohn violin concerto was always a gripping experience, but hearing it live made me tingle like the touch of a long-awaited hand suddenly clasping my own.  After the first four notes, I could feel my heartbeat quicken, and a warmth crept slowly up my back and broke, full-flush, in my rose-colored cheeks.  He was a genius, our concert master, and handsome, too.  With an upswept bow, he came to rest, and wiped his brow as the orchestra continued to play.  His Stradivarius at the ready, he began again, gently, tauntingly, as if daring the listener to focus even more acutely on the overwhelming artistry of his technique, on the devastating beauty of his soul. 

Halfway up the hill, in the gently leading light I felt a quiver of another night, a memory of bubbles hanging overhead, of a stippled view of family and friends looking back at us.  One-hundred and thirty-five young ladies standing proudly in our matching dresses.  This was our Hollywood Bowl, the one we graduated in many years ago.  Countless composers have filled the summer nights.  I have heard Strauss and Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Ravel, Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms, to name just a few of the masters brought to life by the world class musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Scheduled somewhere on that illustrious list, my high school graduation class proudly and humbly took the stage.

With programming that celebrates both high art and pop culture, the Hollywood Bowl is truly an icon.  For sentimental reasons, one of my favorite evenings is The Sound of Music sing-along.  With a fondness for Julie Andrews as Maria and her effervescent je ne sais quoi, my closest childhood friends and I share a touchstone of memory, an Austrian version of Proust’s madeleine.  Here we were years later, sitting in the first row of the bench seats, the box hedge before us decorated for the occasion, and I dressed up as an impromptu Fraulein Maria.  Unfortunately, I looked more like a Pilgrim, but I had edelweiss in my heart.  Filled with wine and best intentions, this was our Aulde lang syne.  Under the new moon and starlight, I felt like the Captain was looking at me.  

Like an intermezzo linking one movement to the next, the Los Angeles Philharmonic moves from the Hollywood Bowl to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the upcoming season.  With iridescent, flowering folds, Disney Hall rises from the remains of Bunker Hill like a silver phoenix poised for flight.  The unexpected curves of its wings are seemingly midway through a syncopated dance or, perhaps, considering a rapturous response to a well-known riff.  Inside, I know beside me in my lofty perch will alight a symphonic splendor.

I wish for words that float like music, lyrical at first, then lingering in the soul after the last note is played.  To be one with the music, one with the words, adrift in linguistic song until the final measure of our days!  And then, if sweat and magic meld to sweet effect, we sip the tears of posterity.  What does it take to receive this joyous cup?  Is desire, alone, enough to taste the blessed brew?  Are images that spring from words as lovely as those musically inclined?  We seek, we dream, we find.  We hope.  

The LA Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl have inspired my words, deepened my stories, and filled my scenes with light.

Juliann Budimir, 2010.  All rights reserved.

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