Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Thursday 9ty. March, 2017.
New York: what inspired me to compose a Postcard. I think what a non-New Yorker first notices is the frenetic pace of the city: the noise, the shouting. As you attempt to blend in you become engaged with the lifestyle, surprised at the interest shown in you by the people, encouraged by their enthusiasm. And of course inspired by the talent on Broadway.
I lived in N.Y for several years; down on East 14th. Street and up on West 72nd. Street. It was at the 72nd. Street address that I became interested in the New York City Ballet and the work of Balanchine. He use to come around for afternoon tea and talk about his various marriages, his philosophy on life and his creative processes and intentions. He also spoke of his involvement with the great Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Picasso. I was of course fascinated and couldn't get enough of his stories. I told him about Robert Helpmann who directed the music to Peter Pan in London. I wrote the music for this production and it ran for 7 seasons. He knew of Helpmann and admired much of his work. He was interested in my views on music and why I composed in such a melodic manner. My answer to that was very simple: to me melody and harmony matter.
It was also at this west-side address that I met Dorothy Hammerstein and Mary Martin who both fell madly in love with my music---what an experience. I remember the first night I met Mary Martin so well. I was at Dorothy Hammerstein's apartment on the upper East side and Mary Martin arrived for drinks. We were then chauffeured over to my apartment for them to listen to my music. The next thing I know is that I'm being asked to write a 2 woman musical for Mary Martin and Ethel Mermin.
Naturally my head was spinning, the excitement flowing through my veins--my music will be on Broadway and what will follow?
The next day a phone call from Dorothy Hammerstein brought me back down to earth!! It may never happen Dorothy Hammerstein told me, don't hang around N.Y. waiting for Mary Martin to start production and to make up her mind as there were too many probabilities involved. So what was going on?? I sort of got the picture but the resolve on my part couldn't and wouldn't happen.
I enjoyed my time in N.Y. but was ready to leave. I hope my Postcard does justice to a certain aspect of the city that inspired my composition.
Next time I will talk a great deal about Paris and my life in the most beautiful of cities.

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