Tanglewood Musings – Peter Greer

Don’t feel sorry for me because I’m not in Europe with the PSO.
Just got back from Tanglewood.   I arrived late Wednesday (8/23/06) and
drove back to the Burg on the following very rainy Sunday (8/27/06),
August.   It was a last minute decision to take half a week’s vacation
and get out of town.
It was a whirlwind weekend of music, theater, and art. 

On Friday evening, got to hear this wunderkind, a  25 year old
Venezuelan  – Gustavo Dudamel – conduct the BSO in de Falla’s Three
Cornered Hat complete.   Some impressive brass playing!  What an honor
for someone so young to have been invited to conduct the aristocrat of
American orchestras.  He even had his way with orchestra placement with
the double basses on stage right rather than the usual stage left.
Dudamel is a huge talent who will only get better with experience.   I
know Bob Moir has been trying hard to get him to Pittsburgh, as he
would be someone who would catch the imagination of the younger crowd.

I heard several people comment that Levine has improved the
orchestra immensely in a very short time.  Although I did not hear
Levine conduct, I would have to agree.  The orchestra sounded great in
an exquisite Bruckner 7 conducted by Herbert Blomstedt (who is 80 years
old but doesn’t look it and did a wonderful Bruckner 4th in Pittsburgh
seven or eight years ago). Also heard Ax, Bronfman, and Imagene Cooper
each do a Beethoven Piano Concerto.   Not bad for only three full days
at Tanglewood.
Sunday’s concert (I saw the Saturday open rehearsal) was conducted
by Raphael Frubeck de Burgos in a rousing Beethoven 7 and 4th Piano
Concerto with Bronfman at the keyboard.  We are not the only city who
has been plagued by conductoritis.  Frubeck was to have also conducted
the previous weekend as well but canceled because of an ear infection.
Fortunately, penicillin cleared it up so he could do the final concert
at Tanglewood.  Having seen him rehearse the BSO, I now know why our
PSO musicians love and respect this man.
Also got to hear Yo Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax do three Beethoven Cello
Sonatas in Ozawa Hall.  Had lawn tickets as the seats had been sold out
for months, but talked myself into free tickets inside the hall for the
second half.  It was a joy to hear these consummate artists celebrate
their twenty-plus year collaboration in this summer hall (no central
heat) which has one of the best acoustics in the United States.
Last but not least, sampled fantastic Scotch in Lenox at one
of the most hospitable B & B’s in the region and talked to the
proprietor while Manny Ax, his wife and Bob’s BSO counterpart were
having dinner in the adjacent room after Saturday evening’s concert. 
Fabrizio Chairiello and his wife Rosemary have owned the Gateways
Inn for ten years.  He was originally an Italian Banker/Lawyer who got
tired of the rat race.   He and his wife work very hard but love what
they are doing.   They are located very close to Tanglewood and
entertain many of the guest artists and conductors after the concert.
Unfortunately, could not stay there on such short notice.  I’m told
Arthur Fiedler stayed there whenever he was in town. 
Tanglewood has experienced one of the worst attended seasons on
record.   Fabrizio thinks its the higher interest rates that have
curtailed discretionary income.  It certainly involves higher fuel
prices as well.  And the lawn crowd was nil on Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday as it rained most of the weekend.  Even the B&B’s were
complaining about the vacancies this summer.  A lawn pass now costs
$17.00 so they take a major hit  every time it rains.
Three weeks ago the BSO was discounting as an internet special the
most expensive Shed seats ($85.00 through $65.00) for $50.00 which I
took advantage of.  Filling seats these days seems to be a tough slog
for everyone.  We have a great orchestra.  Our challenge this season
will be to develop an audience as great as our PSO.

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