Without Music, Tanglewood Is Empty, Eerie and Beautiful

LENOX, Mass. — André Bernard was three months outdated when he attended his first live performance at Tanglewood: Benny Goodman taking part in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, in 1956. For almost each one of many subsequent 63 years, he has made a pilgrimage to the plush, sprawling garden of this summer season music mecca right here within the Berkshires.

He has had a routine. Start off on the grass, ears peeled for the bell that signaled the present was about to start. Then migrate to the Shed, the principle live performance corridor, open on the edges. Watch the moths dart above the brasses and bows, fluttering as much as the lights. Yo-Yo Ma, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Jessye Norman, Ray Charles, The Who: Mr. Bernard has seen all of them right here.

But he will be unable so as to add to that listing this 12 months. The coronavirus pandemic has pressured the cancellation of Tanglewood, simply because it has worn out so many different beloved summer season rituals: the blockbuster within the air-conditioned multiplex, the waterfront arts pageant, the sweaty stadium pop extravaganza. Throughout the nation, resonant seasonal pleasures have vanished.

The lack of Tanglewood, the summer season house of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937, hits notably exhausting right here in bucolic western Massachusetts, the place the pageant takes place on 524 rolling acres. Many followers, like Mr. Bernard, the vp and secretary of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, have been attending for many years. (Mr. Bernard virtually grew up within the wings: His father performed the viola within the Boston Symphony.)

The rehearsal, lecture and live performance calendar has been these devoted followers’ organizing precept; second properties had been purchased simply to be close by. They pinned their summers to Tanglewood, which usually attracts as much as 350,000 folks every season.

So what’s the Berkshires with out Tanglewood? Relaxed? Scenic? Yes. But additionally empty, eerie and very a lot on maintain.

“It’s been quiet as anything,” stated Barry Sheridan, a retired physician who lives close by. “It’s very sad.” Losing a 12 months of exercise if you’re youthful is one factor, he added, however at his age, 85, time is extra treasured: “You’re not sure if there will be a next year.”

Others have embraced a music-free Tanglewood, returning with a book or knitting project. On a recent Sunday, a handful of people performed a new version of their Tanglewood routines. (There was no traffic, so there was no need for the back road — the one everyone swears only he or she knows about.)

They parked all too easily; slung their fold-up camp chairs over their shoulders; and waited obediently in a socially distanced line to enter the grounds, cracking jokes behind their masks.

The lawn — a special mix of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and a variety called fine fescue, designed to withstand the footsteps of up to 18,000 music fans a night — was as supernaturally green as ever. The vista, still magnificent. The sound? No tuning. Mostly birds chirping. Save for a robin dashing from the shadow of one red maple to another, it was very still.

Source link Nytimes.com

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