The light of Los Angeles is known to even those who’ve never experienced southern California in person, an inescapable presence that through worldwide media has cast its striking glow on white Bronco chases and blockbuster films, on tumultuous riots and Olympic games. Upon first reading Lawrence Weschler’s loving ode to the city and its distinctive light “L.A. Glows” in a February 1998 reprinted issue of The New Yorker, I knew immediately that this visual concept begged to be expressed in musical terms.
The result is L.A. Glows, a sonic skyscape for orchestra in which I paint wildly bright music of lollipop palms, sprawling freeways, and dazzling Technicolor. Musical hues shift like vibrant solar rays dicing through the smog-tinged atmosphere, made all the hazier by the entrapment of cool Pacific winds within the San Gabriel Mountains. Warm and inviting on the surface, the notes are always full of an anxious tension that make their high-octane energy palpable until the final bar. A middle interlude depicts a cool desert evening in which indigos and soft pinks merge in ever-shifting skies, offering a poignant respite before we finish even more ecstatically than we began.
—Jules Pegram (2017)