Episode 044: Over the Town
In which we discuss superheroes, true love, and safe traveling
Denise has been flying a LOT for work lately. Boston, Philly, LA, Canada.
Flying, flying, flying.
We’ve flown together a couple of times recently on holidays as well. I don’t much care for flying myself. It's nothing pathological, of course. I get on planes and go where I need to go with a minimum of fuss. Most takeoffs and landings are uneventful other than maybe me gripping the armrest a little too tightly.
I never flew when I was a child—it wasn’t until I was an adult that I ever boarded a plane. However, even when I was young I knew flying wouldn’t be my thing.
Because none of my favorite superheroes could fly! I always preferred the earthbound good guys: Batman of course. Daredevil. Green Arrow.
[Special carve-out for cats who could fly with aid, like Iron Man or Silver Surfer. I must admit they were cool. And let’s not forget Wonder Woman’s invisible plane.]
Anyway, the path of our return flights sometimes goes right over our little town, which you can see from the air pretty plainly since we live on a distinctively whale-shaped lake. Pretty riveting looking at your home from above.
There's an amazing painting of Marc Chagall’s in which he and his wife fly over his childhood hometown. Let’s write some music for the 1918 masterwork Over the Town.
Music first this week. I really like this one.
You would think flying music would be all sorts fast-moving, exciting goodies filled with whooshes and swooshes. But Chagall and his beloved Bella Rosenfeld appear to be the epitome of super chill up there in the sky.
So, a happy, dreamy-sounding beat. I thought the best way to do this was to have a lot of different individual lines kind of weaving their way together. The bass line, the guitar chops, the main theme—they are all moving. Not a lot of staying in one place.
There are some simple chords holding it all together starting about a third of the way through, played on a Wurlitzer. A sound I freely admit to using too much.
Speaking of sounds I use far too much: after the drop, the theme—which has only been played on the piano up until now—returns with a Mellotron flute added. If I had to pick one sound that I love above all others, it would be that one.
Chagall loved to paint himself and Bella flying around. There is even a play about the two of them flying around called, naturally, The Flying Lovers.
Birthday has them flying in the living room.
Bouquet with Flying Lovers has them soaring around with some flowers. [Started in the 30s, Chagall finished this one many years later after his Bella died.]
But Over the Town is the one where they truly take flight. It must have been inspired by Bella’s note to him after they got engaged:
“I suddenly felt as if we were taking off. You too were poised on one leg, as if the little room could no longer contain you. You soar up to the ceiling. Your head turned down to me, and turned mine up to you... We flew over fields of flowers, shuttered houses, roofs, yards, churches."
This reduction was fun to do, it helped me get into flying-mode. I can feel them up there over trees and houses and fences.
And that one little guy, squatting...ummm, what is he doing?
He didn’t make it into the reduction.
Fear of flying shouldn’t be a thing. It’s a very silly thing to be scared of.
Some quick Google “research” [which is always accurate] shows there are approximately 0.01 deaths per 100 million miles flown. Which is literally a one-in-a-million chance something bad will happen to you.
Those are pretty good odds. I'm not a mathematician or anything, but I must admit that those stats prove the safety of it all.
It’s possible lying in my bed not moving may be more dangerous than flying.
Have a safe week everyone.
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