Tanglewood Saturday, Aug 1 2015 

It wouldn’t be southwestern New England in the summer without Tanglewood, now would it? Our record of getting up there is erratic at best, but nonetheless.

Last night was rather pleasant:

An opening concert of brass and woodwinds ranging from the Renaissance to Modern was followed by Weber’s Overture of ‘Der Freischutz’ (lovely work for the horns), Schubert’s ‘Symphony No. 4 in C minor’, and completed by Beethoven’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 5…the ‘Emperor’ elegantly, spectacularly played by Garrick Ohlsson.

Tanglewood is not, of course, simply the Boston Symphony’s summer home. It is also an expression of a cultural peak* that we spend far too much time either denigrating or taking for granted. The setting is glorious, a sister of the Lake Country at its best. And that alone tells us something. For the Lake Country is England, but England within and of the British Empire, world spanning confidence and a desire to paint a single tree in a single farmyard.

The architecture….function above all in the Shed; but Ozawa Hall represents a mature form of the idea for one can see at once elements of: the New England brick factory, the midwestern Arts and Crafts, older still the great halls of a thousand castles, set beneath the trees, the court of classical music. It is Yankee to the core.

For every negative thrown at the old Yankee culture:** pretentious, reserved, elite, arrogant, and worse….consider… this is what it has supported, can support, and will support: hundreds of people give their lives to music that is not given to the worship of any god, any nation, any creed, not to politics and not to the day’s would be lord. But simply to music. Thousands more come to listen in silent rapture to the glory that is man, speaking in a thousand tongues.


*There are many peaks, in many cultures. That I speak of one does not another lesser make.

** Which is not what votes at the state or federal levels these days, but that is politics. Neither Democrat nor Republican is Yankee as far as I am concerned.

For the entertainment of the locals Wednesday, Mar 12 2014 

An excerpt from a letter dated 1857….’Plus ça change!’

Julie writing to Morris:

“These abominable people brought me a bill of eleven dollars for that good-for-nothing sewer down in Albany Street – which profits us not at all. Might as well not have any government as one which rules by oppression. I hate Hartford and there’s the end of it. It is a cold raw disagreeable stiff forlorn uncomfortable place and I wish I was out of it.”

She never did really get out of Hartford, living there every winter for the rest of her life, though there were a few trips to New Orleans after the Civil War.  But she did get out of it in the summer time finally.

They did not, by the way, live on or near Albany Street.  So the sewer really didn’t profit them.  Those who know the goings on around here will agree that the arguments haven’t changed much…

Politics Tuesday, Mar 12 2013 

and the ramifications there of.  I try very, very hard to not let politics creep on to this blog; its audience is presumably not looking for my opinions on that subject.  I think I can comfortably leave it at the statement of ‘if Esperanza wasn’t in Connecticut, I would Never, Never live here’.

However, I have mentioned once or twice the importance of quality workmen; indeed of craftsmen who truly know their trade and can be trusted without a doubt.  For about twenty-three years we have had a carpenter of that variety.  A consummate craftsman able to build both a house and a fine china cabinet.  He has also annually hunted for deer on the property, helping to keep the population effectively checked, which is of major importance for success in gardening around here.  His work is always good, his prices always fair, and I can trust him with the keys to the house.  The men who have worked for him over the years have been the same way.

It was with some dismay that I learned that he is moving to one of the Carolinas; and not the urban area, though as a person skilled in luxury home building, he could do well there. 

Why? Well, Much lower property taxes, no state income tax, better schools, less nit-picky regulation, people actually building houses, and above all a culture less routinely insulting to his way of life: father, Baptist, gun-owner, hunter, libertarian, as willing to debate the humanities as hunting.

I wish him well.  I hope we can find someone of his caliber left in the state…he isn’t the only one to have left recently.


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