Sunday, July 22, 2018

Speaking of Mozart

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It's a Mozart/Sibelius weekend for us. Happy Sunday! We spent this weekend in the Berkshires, at Tanglewood hearing the Boston Symphony, and seeing old friends, and generally relaxing.  The weather was mostly gorgeous--and we won't talk about the Sunday afternoon predictions.

It takes a bit to get here from Boston. Actually, two solid hours of this:



But it's worth it.  Here's where we stayed--peaceful and lovely, from the heyday of Lenox, when the robber barons came here and built summer cottages. This home has a ballroom, of course. 



Here's a view from Tanglewood before the concert--see why so many people love it?


And here's Emmanuel Ax, accepting a standing ovation after playing a Mozart concerto.




Here's the view from where we have breakfast ...


And the patio where it's served:



and the little visitor who came to beg some of Jonathan's morning muffin.


Back home, the house sitter is getting the mail and papers, and hanging out using our pool (house sitter perks), and we are taking in the Western Mass niceness.  Soon, TRUST ME, it'll be all about book tour, hurray. But this weekend is all about music and peace.

Reds and readers, do you listen to classical music? What's special to you?  Hope you are having a peaceful Sunday, too.

64 comments:

  1. What a lovely place! It looks so peaceful and serene . . . .

    Yes, we listen to and enjoy classical music. I’m partial to Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven . . . .

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    1. Yes, it’s wonderful...although right now it is rainy... but off to breakfast in the ballroom!

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  2. What a lovely place. I've been to Tanglewood only once, but it was for Prairie Home Companion, not classical. I used to listen to Robert J. Lurtsema on Sunday mornings, and he would play a different Bach cantata every week. I miss that!

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    1. And remember he’d start his morning show with gently tweeting birds?

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    2. Sometimes recorded live at Tanglewood!

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  3. that sounds perfect Hank--you needed a weekend off! I've been to Tanglewood a could of times as we now have friends who live there. It's magical! One year we heard Yoyo Ma...

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    1. Yes! He was in the audience Friday to cheer on his friend Emmanuel Ax!

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  4. Cincinnati has wonderful classical music by the CSO and Opera. The University of Cincinnati CCM showcases an array of talent eight months of the year: classical and jazz concerts, opera, Broadway shows, and plays. The 2018-9 calendar includes "Guys and Dolls," "The Turn of the Screw," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito," and a fully staged "Cinderella" ballet.

    Tanglewood must have been wonderful! The last place we've lived with outdoor orchestra concerts is Cleveland, with the CSO performing at Blossom, an outdoor music pavilion south of the city.

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    1. Oh what a fantastic program—are you going to any of them?

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    2. We'll attend all of them plus some undergraduate productions. Most memorable undergrad moments: the musical comedy Lysistrata Jones with a song and dance number on a basketball court on stage, and Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte set in fiftes LA on a ranch house set that included an outdoor pool and patio. Crazy!

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  5. I grew up with classical music, and now I listen to it for a living. In fact, the Dallas Winds' latest recording was named Classical Release of the Week last week by stations in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. (But not Dallas? What's up with that?) Back when I worked for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, I remember meeting Emmanuel Ax by the vending machines at the offstage musicians' lounge. He was super sweet, and jonesing for a cherry pie, even though I offered him fresh melon from the development department.

    Enjoy your time at Tanglewood, Hank! I'll bet it's a lot more fun than being stuck in Texas with a broken air conditioner.

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    1. What a great memory—yes, everyone says he is lovely. And aw—poor thing! Xx

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    2. That CD by the Dallas Winds is "John Williams at the Movies" and it is fabulous!!!! And Gigi wrote the liner notes so that makes it extra special:-)

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  6. The closest I've come to Tanglewood and ballrooms and such is via the books I've read. However, I have a lovely memory of music in the magnificent art deco Casino Ballroom on Catalina Island. Any music played by the water is my perfect place.

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    1. You are so right… Why is music by the water so special? Agreed!

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  7. Hank, absolutely gorgeous!

    I like classical - all the heavy-hitters like Mozart, Beethoven, Handel. I like the symphony but we rarely go because The Hubby does not and I don’t like going alone. But sometimes I’ll pop in the headphones and listen while writing or reading.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. I think it is fascinating how complicated it is to make time to listen to classical music. My dad, who was a Composer and musician , and a music critic, would never listen to it while he was doing something else. He get very annoyed if we did… Saying it is not background music! But it takes a lot of focus just to listen, and that is why so many people don’t like to go to classical concerts. I think it is also more interesting if you understand it, you know? On a different level than just listening . Even reading the program notes before you listen makes a huge difference.
      But I agree, I think it is wonderful to listen to while cleaning, and sometimes writing, if the tone of the music is the same as the text.

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    2. Yes, I agree. And you are right about the tone of the music having to match what I'm writing. Listening to a mellow piece when I'm writing an action scene rarely works.

      I also have to match what I'm listening to what I'm doing. I can't listen to something frenetic if I'm enjoying a peaceful cup of tea on the porch, watching the sun rise (or set).

      Mary/Liz

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  8. We are both classical music listeners, and Julie is a creator, has been singing choral music forever. But we also listen to a variety of genre, including classic country, anything from the 60s, and big band. Julie spent months putting our entire CD collection on her iPod, and now even that is antiquated. We no longer give house space to a stereo system, preferring an Echo in every room, playing anything we want to hear any time. The speakers are amazing considering they are housed in something the size of an ice tea glass, and the content is endless.

    Side note: Julie is a voice major, and she sang backup to the Carpenters in a Christmas concert, way back when!

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    1. Oh, and we are also opera buffs.

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    2. Oh, amazing! And I love opera two, again, so much better if you understand it, you know?

      And she sang with the Carpenters? That is a memory!

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    3. Miss Debbie's Learn to Dance was my first - on pointe at 9 - oh, my aching toes!

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  9. I love good music, including classical, and enjoy going to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concerts with a girlfriend.

    It's long gone now, but one of our rock music radio stations had the best classical program on Sunday mornings, which I listened to every week. The owner of the station himself would host, and he always accompanied the selections with lively commentary about the pieces. I miss that.

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    1. The commentary adds so much to it, don’t you think?

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  10. What a gorgeous setting! What is the history of the house? It has to have one.

    I enjoy classical music having grown up listening to it - all kids of my generation did, it was the soundtrack for most cartoons and kiddie movies of the day - and of course, there were those ballet lessons. My husband is the identifier though. Yep, Mr. Country Music himself. All he needs are a few notes and he'll he's got composer, work, and usually an interesting backstory trivia bit. A more unlikely candidate for the knowledge I can't imagine, but he never ceases to amaze.

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    1. Yes, I forget the specifics, but it was one of those summer homes built for a robber baron socialite… I have a brochure that tells it all, you are reminding me to look it up!
      Ballet lessons! We’ll talk about that another lawn, that is a perfect topic! I dibs it!

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  11. I have in-house classical piano from morning til night, although I have to say that the Tanglewood setting is magnificent! Enjoy your get-away!

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    1. Yes, right now it is sunshine for five minutes and threats of thunderstorms the next five and then back again. So we shall see. But everyone is here, and it is beautiful and filled with music lovers of all ages.

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  12. I love classical music. Our parents loved it, so we grew up listening to it. I don't have any favorites. A couple of years ago I went to Tanglewood for the Boston Symphony, and it was just great! Thanks for sharing a photo of the view. It really is spectacular!

    In the car I listen to classical music when I'm not listening to the news. Since I'm trying to avoid the news, I have been enjoying more and more classical music. Now that I'm home a little more often, I'm listening to it at home, too,

    My high school placed great emphasis on appreciating classical music. I got more out of my high school music education than I did in my college music appreciation course, and I had a good instructor.The nun who was the music teacher in my high school composed music of her own, something I found out from someone outside of the school. Her love of good music was contagious!

    DebRo

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    1. Oh, she would be so happy that you remember this! We had a music memory contest did anyone else have that?

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    2. We didn't have anything like that-unless I don't remember:-)

      One time our teacher gave each of us some drawing paper and colored chalks, played some classical music (I can't remember which piece, but it might have been Peer Gynt) and told us to draw or make any kinds of designs that came to mind as we listened to the music. We had fun looking at how each girl interpreted the music. One girl with a particularly negative mindset did everything in black, black squirls and squiggles and columns and columns of black.

      DebRo

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    3. The Music Memory Project is still alive and well. We play many of the selections each year as part of our concerts for fifth grade students in Dallas.

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  13. I don't listen to classical music all that much. Obviously whenever something pops up in a score for a movie or TV show.

    I do own a CD of Edvard Grieg's work because he wrote a piece called "In The Hall of the Mountain King". My favorite metal band, Savatage, had a song (and album) called "Hall of the Mountain King" based off that piece so I "had" to pick up the inspiration.

    I do own a non-Xmas Trans-Siberian Orchestra album called "Beethoven's Last Night" which mixes classical and rock to tell a fictional story about the last night of Beethoven's life.

    Oh, and Swedish guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen is a master at blending classical guitar with ultra fast and fiery metal guitar.

    That's as close as I come though.

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    1. Those are some great recommendations, Jay!

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    2. Okay everyone, remember this! So if you try to listen to anything I mentioned in my initial response, it's all Hank's fault for saying they were great recommendations!

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    3. I'm familiar with those pieces, Jay, including Yngwie. For a real laugh, check out the Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Wolfgang's Big Night Out."

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    4. Gigi, I have to say that I'm rather impressed anyone here would know Yngwie.

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  14. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. My boyfriend introduced me to Mozart. I already was listening to Beethoven. I have an ear for classical music. I enjoy listening to classical music.

    Diana

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    1. Yes, once you open the Mozart/Beethoven door, there is so much to listen to and appreciate! Your boyfriend has given you a wonderful gift…

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  15. The Berkshires are always lovely! 2 hours away for me, too, but from the other direction. I always think of James Taylor in connection with Tanglewood but I'm willing to go to a classical concert.

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    1. Yes, me, too, Judi. I would love to see JT there.

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    2. Yes, we have seen him several times! And always always fantastic. We also saw Jackson Browne here… and I am trying to remember who else. My poor brain!

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  16. Back in the early days of TV, even children's cartoons used classical music. A friend was a bassist for the CSO, and we once had a lively conversation about this. We both concluded that our childhood were a lot richer for that exposure to good music.

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    1. Yes, I agree! It is so important. And I fear going out of fashion, do you?

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    2. Yes. Remember Disney's Fantasia? All symphonic.

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  17. Shalom Reds and fans, I've never been to the Tanglewood Festival but I love that area of the country. I also love a whole host of types of music including classical. I also confess that I listen to music during a much of the day as "background". My favorite pieces of music are Bach's six cello suites. I heard these for the first time on the radio. It was a recording by Maurice Gendron and I was amazed that one person alone could play what I heard. My second favorite are the late-Beethoven string quartets. Particularly, the piece known as the Grosse Fugue. I play a little piano and I recommend the book for everyone called THE PIANO SHOP ON THE LEFT BANK by Thad Carhart. It is a series of essays about his renewed passion of being an amateur pianist. I also recommend the app ClassicalFM which is a radio feed from England. I think not being in England that I had to log in by connecting via Facebook. Also radio station WRTI streams on the internet classical and jazz all day long.

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    1. David, I think Bach's six cello suites are my favorite pieces of music ever. Jane Torvil and Chris Dean choreographed an ice dancing program to that music and it was just stunning. I used to have it on VHS but I'll be it's now on YouTube.

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    2. Funnily enough, two of our friends are cellists! And they do not know each other— what a coincidence, right? . We will have to get three of you together!

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  18. I do like classical music. For years I was a season subscriber to the DSO (Dallas Symphony) and even longer to the Dallas Opera, which puts on first class productions. I particularly like baroque music, as it seems to make my brain work better. But I have to admit that I don't listen as much as I'd like. Like your father, Hank, I find it hard to listen to music while doing anything else, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Dallas has a very good classical music station, by the way, WRR, so I should remember to just turn it on.

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    1. Yes, when you have to sit out an hour to listen to music and doing nothing else, that is a tough decision! Sadly…
      Yes, when you have to sit out an hour to listen to music and do nothing else, that is a tough decision! Sadly...
      We were BSO subscribers for years, two, and loved going out to dinner and to the symphony. But as I started writing the books, the time to do that kept being usurped by a book thing. I think that’s a good reason to buy season tickets, you know? To force you to go :-) !

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  19. I listen to classical music when I write, but it can't be anything too peppy or I get distracted! Recently on Spotify, I've been listening to "Mozart Slow Motions" which has been great!

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  20. I do love classical music, but my exposure to it has been limited lately. I need to fix that. I have a special fondness for some of the well-known pieces, such as Pachabel's Canon in D, a piece that I could just listen to all day. It's uplifting and full of hope to me. Listening to it now. Thanks for the reminder. I used to have season tickets to our local symphony, but I switched to going to the Broadway Musical series at our performing center. I should do both, and maybe I will. I really like so many different kinds of music, with jazz probably being my favorite. I can only imagine how glorious the music is when in a setting such as Tanglewood, Hank. I'm glad you've had such a lovely weekend.

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    1. Yes, you know-I clearly remember the first time I heard that! In 1971. So beautiful!

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  21. Enjoyed your pictures (except for the traffic- yuck!). I do enjoy classical music. Haven't been to a live performance in a long time.

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  22. That is a gorgeous place!! I've never been to that part of the country. Only visited Boston for the first time last year. And we used to have season tickets to the symphony in our younger days. It was a date night each month and my folks would babysit our daughter. We loved it. Somehow it went by the wayside as these things will eventually do. I still have a lot of classical music cd's. Bet that concert was wonderful. My husband's stepfather was a music professor and he still, at 86, writes music and guest conducts our little county orchestra a few times a year.

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    1. Oh so wonderful! I bet that is so sweet... xxx

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  23. I heard classical music in cartoons, movies and hymns but was really exposed in my college Into to Music class. I put on the records while reading as I usually listened to music and flunked the test. Thank goodness for retests. Now I don't listen to any of my records or tapes unless I'm cooking, doing dishes or dusting. If I'm reading, I miss most of it.

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  24. Yes, absolutely I'm a classical music listener. It's my preferred music, with jazz second. It would be a dream to go to Tanglewood, I've heard so much about it over the decades, but it's a long was from Portland OR.

    Lately I've been listening to a lot of Delius, and Bax, both favorites. When in southern California I used to listen to KUSC often, and especially to Jim Svejda's evening program. It's available on line.

    What a wonderful weekend you must be having / have had, rain and traffic notwithstanding, Hank.

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    1. Rain and traffic, yes! But all worth it… So beautiful! And yes, you must come someday! We can all go together

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  25. Not that I don't love the three "B's" and all the warhorses, because I do. Yet with 1800 classical CDs to choose from I rarely get through everything, so I just listen to what strikes me at the moment.

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