The Shock of the Nude

How would the Pageant of the Masters score Guernica?

We asked Henn how he works. "I put a picture that I'm gonna score for the Pageant on the piano," he explains. "Then I get very, very quiet. I start listening, then improvising. And then I start coming up with themes and orchestral colors that I want to use. I have a pencil and a blank piece of 12-stave music paper, and I catch all my ideas there."

He says he works best late at night, mostly between midnight and sunrise. "There're fewer people trying to think about how to screw their brother or create wars or destroy the world or overtake this corporation or merge that one. Less of that's going on in your immediate vicinity. It's very clear, and a lot of great ideas can come through you."

Richard Henn and the Festival of the Arts orchestra perform with pretty picture accompaniment at the Pageant of the Masters, Irvine Bowl, 650 Laguna Canyon Dr., Laguna Beach, (800) 487-3378. Nightly, 8:30 p.m. Through Aug. 29. $10-$50.

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