Here's my latest video Midnight on the Cliffs, inspired by a composition written by pianist Leonard Pennario (1924-2008). This has a special personal meaning to me, for more reasons than I could reveal here.
(video best viewed full-screen)
Pennario was born in New York but lived in Southern California his entire life. He wrote Midnight on the Cliffs when he was eighteen and gave the first live performance of it in 1942. The composition was initially titled Midnight on the Newport Cliffs - inspired by the cliffs at Newport Beach. He later changed the title to Minuit sur la falaise de Newport.
When Doris Day heard the music, she liked it so much that she requested for it to be used in her 1956 film Julie.
It has been widely believed that Pennario never actually wrote down a music score for Midnight on the Cliffs, but this isn't quite true. He wrote a simple piano version, which was published by Ardmore Music Corp. in 1954. He never wrote a musical score for the elaborate piano version that he performed in public - and he supposedly never played it exactly the same way twice.
My video is dedicated to someone now deceased who was extremely close to me. This person also happened to be a friend of Leonard Pennario.
Those were luxurious nights that we shared, long ago in the golden zenith of our youth and the spectacular setting of Los Angeles. The gentle winter nights washed clean by Santa Ana winds, the indigo sky immersed in an infinite sparkle of stars.
Candlelight, wine, and the piano. You would play your latest compositions and arrangements, and then I would play mine. We discussed every aspect of music and the keyboard....and planned to give future concerts together, works for two pianos.
Later we'd sit by the fireplace and listen to records, all of our favorite piano music. Midnight on the Cliffs was a particular favorite. Leonard Pennario was a friend of your family and you had known him since childhood. You would tell me stories, like the one about going to the racetrack with him at Hollywood Park.
And we both knew the secret, wild, intoxicating beauty of the cliffs at Newport Beach - - and we explored the same places that had inspired Pennario long before our time.
After all, love in Southern California is ageless....and endless....
Tonight, in the tepid mountains of Tennessee, so far from the pinnacle of our long-ago existence..... I listen to wind sifting through treetops and I think of you....and remember those pristine, perfect nights......and I think of what could have been....if you hadn't succumbed so prematurely to the arms of eternal sleep.
Probably shouldn't have posted this, but what the hell......
In case anyone cares, the video can be found on my YouTube channel Jayveesonata