Friday, July 28, 2017
Two girls from New York lost in Vermont
Write a headline about it, of course.
The headline of this post is what we came up with when driving down a dark country road after an extremely interesting and civilized evening of chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival in the eponymous town in Southern Vermont on the campus of Marlboro College.
I had gone with a new friend who had an extra ticket. It was magical out there, with the landscape having a different feel than here in the Valley. I was glad I went. The New England Travel Planner gives a good succinct description:
The Marlboro Music School and Festival, directed by Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida, brings together 75 of the most talented musicians in the country, some famous and some soon to be famous, for two months' practice, consultation, and tutorial.
On weekends from mid-July to mid-August the school is opened to concert audiences, most of whom have ordered their tickets weeks or months in advance and have also made early lodging reservations.
The auditorium at Marlboro College (map) seats fewer than 700 people, and to keep the spirit of the chamber music, directors and performers resist demands for a larger hall.
Young musicians and accomplished artists wove an fascinating musical tapestries. The hall is small enough so that even in the back, you can see the emotion in the performers' faces and watch how much of their body they put into a piece.
We saw String Quartet in D Major, Op. 50, No. 6, by Joseph Haydn; 8 Etudes and a Fantasy, by Elliott Carter; and String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48, B. 80, by Antonin Dvorak. I thoroughly enjoyed the first and the last but have to confess to not being able to make sense of the modern work in the middle. I closed my eyes and took a micro nap. I was glad I was awake for the complicated Dvorak, which went through multiple moods and tempos. At one point for some reason I imagined the music to be the soundtrack for characters in a fairytale dancing through the woods.
The mood continued when we drove off through the woods, took a turn, and soon realized we did not know where we were. We had no phone reception, hence no way to get directions on the unmarked road. We drove a little, hoping to see a road sign when suddenly we came upon an inn. We decided to drive up and ask for directions. It was before 10 p.m. and we expected to see someone at the reception desk or in the living area. There was nobody to be found. We saw empty card tables, a couch with pillows, and an unattended bar stocked with liquor. If it was a play or movie, we might have poured ourselves a drink while we pondered our next move.
Admittedly mawkishly, I said, "Maybe they're all dead," and I had visions of Agatha Christie's "And then There Were None." We gave up and had just begun to back out when a face peered suspiciously out of a window. I knocked and mouthed the words, "Can you come out?"
A man came out and said we were actually headed in the right direction, Brattleboro, through which we had come.
I had met my new friend through the Western Mass Dog Walkers' Meetup. When we were doing introductions of ourselves and our dogs before we took a walk at Mt. Toby, we realized immediately that we had to have coffee.
Both native New Yorkers, we had each gone to a Friends School, me to Friends Seminary and Abigail to Brooklyn Friends. That alone was enough for a long conversation. She also went to Vassar, though only for a year, and she is also a freelance writer. We are both dog people, and we both have a Lives.
Here is hers: Bitten to the Quick
And at the risk of repeating this ad nauseam, here is mine: Running for My Life