THE LAKE AT FRANKLIN CANYON - for Orchestra (2023)
Part of the orchestral trilogy Three Places in Los Angeles:
I: The Lake at Franklin Canyon (ca. 10 minutes)
II: Laurel Canyon (ca. 6 minutes)
III: Mulholland Drive (ca. 12 1/2 minutes)
These works may be performed separately, or together under the overall title Three Places in Los Angeles
Instrumentation for The Lake at Franklin Canyon:
2 Flutes (2nd doubling piccolo)
Clarinet in B flat
Bass Clarinet in B flat
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
Percussion (4 players): Mark Tree (Bar Chimes), Glockenspiel (ossia keyboard glockenspiel), Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Tam-tam
Duration ca. 10 minutes
The Lake at Franklin Canyon is a ten-minute orchestral work that can be performed on its own, or as the first movement of the trilogy titled Three Places in Los Angeles. It was completed in 2023 and has been recorded by The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra on the First Leaf Music label.
Franklin Canyon Park is a conservancy area: a naturally wild, undeveloped refuge in the rolling hills above Los Angeles. In addition to hiking trails, it features the ultimate rarity in LA: a small lake nestled among the hills and pine trees, yet perched between the heavily built and populated areas to the north (the San Fernando Valley) and the south (Beverly Hills). As is so often the case with things in LA, the lake, despite its great beauty and effect, is a "pretend lake" that is actually a remnant of the original early 20th century LA aqueduct “water works”, a natural spring damned up to become a reservoir. Now the hillsides are wild with lush flora and fauna, hiking trails, and a museum that respectfully reminds the public of the original Tongva inhabitants whose ancestral lands were this Garden of Eden.
Mountain forest lakes can be sun-dappled and beautiful under a blue sky, but can also be dark and mysterious and deep. They encourage contemplation of memories, and from their depths rise emotions stirred by those memories. The "water" metaphor for LA is usually ocean and beaches, but the mysteries of this rarest of lakes are more evocative.
In this work, impressionistic colors featuring minor seventh chords in gentle whole tone scales with magical bells, chimes and shimmering quiet cymbals, evoke gentle movements of sunlight and wind on water. A languid melody emerges, under which the contrasting whole tone harmonies persist, in a rich parallel harmonic world. This modal and harmonic parallelism allows the richly lyrical wide-ranging melody to remain slightly off balance, a precursor of some of the contrasts and clashes to come.
As the opening settles into a mysterious and otherworldly atmosphere, a new melody emerges, in violins with a rolling triplet accompaniment and dark, deep brass chords, evoking gently rolling deep waters.
In The Lake at Franklin Canyon the melody, which is so evocative of deep waters and feelings, becomes a symphonic, dreamy, central focus that the entire work approaches as its half point, then departs from in the form of increasingly intense lyrical orchestral expansion. Ultimately, the timeless and impressionistic whole tone scales collide with the momentum of the intensified melodic arcs. After that catharsis, the work returns to the dreamy half world of the opening, as if waking up from a deep and emotionally intense dream with a return to the evocative landscape of memory and dreams with which the work began, gently rocking.
When performed as part of Three Places in Los Angeles, The Lake at Franklin Canyon is followed by two movements titled Laurel Canyon, and Mulholland Drive. While all three works can be performed separately, the emotional arc of the three movements is especially satisfying: the nostalgic dreaminess and intensity of The Lake at Franklin Canyon gives way in perfect contrast to the melodic and dance-like and raucous Laurel Canyon, a rebirth of life with a joyous rock n' roll drum solo. Mulholland Drive is a journey all its own: a ribbon of road that runs the length of Los Angeles between the starry sky and the jewel-lit city lights. A road of dreams, mountain wildness, aspiration and danger. A highway in the sky that floats between heaven and earth, telling the story of each of us, and millions of us at the same time, concluding the trilogy with a communal hymn and sunrise.
Corey Field - The Lake at Franklin Canyon
The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra - Conducted by Jiří Petrdlík
First Leaf Music Label
Available for streaming on all leading digital music services
Youtube (with scrolling score): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKLVe4u1nGI