Your Tanglewood Tales, Page 2


Your Tanglewood Tales, Page 2 

Here are more of your "Tanglewood Tales," stories from Classical New England listeners that celebrate the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra during this 75th anniversary season.


In the early '70's, when I was freshly out of college, I was in Stockbridge nearly every weekend with my best friend Mike, whose father, Noah Bielski, a BSO violinist, had recently died, and whose mother, Louise, had a cottage with many other BSO families across the lake.

One weekend Louise's elderly father wanted to go to the Sunday open rehearsal, and I joined him for Eugene Ormandy conducting the BSO in Debussy's La Mer. Hardly anyone else was in the shed that day because it was POURING RAIN. So hard that it competed with the music to be heard and that even though there was no wind it created it's own breeze. It was absolutely thrilling and exciting--practically a private performance, with the wild music inside and the wild deluge outside. A really magical moment for me.

Maybe a year or two later I was wandering backstage at intermission of a concert conducted by Rostropovich and chatting with Max Winder, a violinist and father of my other best friend Jon. The next piece was to be Shotokovich's 5th Symphony, and Max told me it would be very emotional because the composer had just died and Rostropovich was grieving. It WAS a very emotional and exciting performance, but the memorable moment was at the end when Rostropovich kissed the score and refused to stand back on the podium as he took his bows, saying in effect that all the applause should be for his recently deceased friend (and I believe) mentor.

- Mark
Lee, MA
My first trip to Tanglewood was tripped up when my grandmother fell down the steps of the Red Lion Inn and broke her arm. We had to leave before we unpacked to get her the attention she needed! My second trip to Tanglewood was in the '80's with Windsor Mountain Summer Camp (then Interlocken). I'll never forget lying on the lawn, watching the sun disappear and the stars emerge, listening to classical music (not my usual choice!).

I often go back to that time to remember what it meant to feel light, optimistic, calm, and HAPPY. I have returned many times since then, and it's always amazing, but that first magical time was really special.

- Lara
Newton Center, MA


On July 22, 2011 we attended the “Walks and Talks” event where Susan Graham was the guest. When someone at our table asked how old she was, I said “50 or 51.” A nearby man looked it up on his iPhone and found that she was going to turn 51 the next day! My husband brought the booklet from one of her CDs to get her autograph, so he decided to wish her “Happy Birthday” when he approached her after the talk. He did, and she seemed to appreciate it.

On the morning July 27, 2012, we went to a “Working Rehearsal” of Berlioz’s “Faust” in the shed. As we were walking up the aisle, a beautiful blonde woman was walking toward us from the other direction, singing scales as she walked. As he had done with everyone else he had met that morning, my husband asked her if she was in the chorus. Before she had a chance to answer, I said, “It’s Susan Graham!” We had a nice conversation with her, saying that we had seen her perform several times before, had gone to all of her “Met Opera Live in HD” appearances at the movie theater, and hoped to see her live at the Met soon. She suggested that we might enjoy Berlioz’s “Les Troyens” in which she will be playing Dido. We really enjoyed the performance of “Faust” the next evening, especially since we were in the 3rd row and could see and hear everything very well.
- Michele
North Dartmouth, MA

In 1999, the University of the Middle East Project, an educational nonprofit organization building bridges of common understanding between teachers from the Middle East and North Africa and teachers in Massachusetts, organized its first summer program at Boston College, bringing 19 high school teachers from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia...

As the Academic Director of that program, I had planned to take this group of dedicated teachers (who were travelling to the US for the first time) to Tanglewood... and so we took a bus and arrived there by a beautiful July afternoon... when the concert started that evening, I could see tears in the eyes of many of these men and women who had come from so far...

Talking to them afterwards, I realized that it was the first time they were attending a live concert of classical music... for some, it was even the first time ever they were listening to Mozart... and they were overwhelmed by the emotion of such revelation, in this amazingly inspiring and peaceful concert hall in the middle of nature... a moment that I will never forget and a memory that I will always cherish... and I know that somewhere in Casablanca, Tunis or Cairo, my friends will always remember it too... (University of the Middle East Project,

- Anne Marie
Brighton, MA
My father and mother attended the 1954 performance of Berlioz's "Damnation of Faust" at Tanglewood, when the conductor was Charles Munch, and the chorus was the Harvard Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society. He was then the graduate advisor of the Glee Club. He fell in love with the piece, and, when the recording was released, played the "Damnation of Faust" every night at dinner time for months. Needless to say, we four children couldn't stand hearing it.

He later became an Overseer and Trustee of the Boston Symphony, but the "Damnation of Faust" was always his favorite BSO experience.....Some years after his death I joined the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Shortly before my mother's death in 2006, I had the privilege of singing her favorite work, Mozart's "Requiem" at Tanglewood. She was in the audience to enjoy it. That was for her. This weekend, we sang an incredible performance of, yes, "Damnation of Faust" with Charles Dutoit. That was for Dad, and I must finally admit that I can understand why he loved it so.

- Martha
Hingham, MA


One hot summer afternoon in 1984, Julie and I headed out for an afternoon picnic concert on the great lawn. She was pregnant with our son, Gian-Stefano. We enjoyed Mozart's #23 concerto, some fine cheeses and pates, and myself only a bit of chilled white wine. The concert was spectacular, led by Maestro Ozawa.

When the concert ended, still being quite warm, we took a skinny dip in the nearby pond. Refreshed and rested we drove back to our Rhode Island home in my old Fiat convertible. It was one of the cherished times of pure joy. We no longer have the Fiat and our son is now 27 years old, but we do have many recordings by the BSO and especially our beloved 23rd by the master.

- Stephan
Bristol, RI

Although I am fuzzy about the date, and some program details, I shall never forget a spontaneous detour that my mother and I made to Tanglewood on our way back from New York to her then home in East Longmeadow. It was getting late and through a friend at the box office (God bless Charlie Rawson!), we were able to get box seat tickets in the shed. We didn't even look at the program, and then thought, ugh, an unfamiliar soprano - hope we can stay awake, and was this a good idea after all - maybe we should have continued home.

Well! Good thing we stayed! Years later we still talked about that enchanting and special night and the spectacular voice of a young... Kiri Te Kanawa!!! I still remember her encore - an a capella rendition of a traditional Maori folk song – mesmerizing and sheer magic!!! The memory of that Tanglewood concert still gives me goosebumps and stands out among my innumerable times there

- Marilyn
Brookline, MA
In 1971 I took a bus to Tanglewood with $60.00, a pup tent and my trumpet to have some private lessons with my trumpet god, Armando Ghitalla, Principal Trumpet of the BSO. What a thrilling experience in a magical setting and from then on I couldn't conceive of a summer passing without a pilgrimage to Tanglewood, which I was fortunate enough to do for the following three years.

For my second visit to Tanglewood to further study trumpet with BSO Principal Trumpet, Armando Ghitalla, I was somewhat better off in that I had my own wheels, a Lotus Europa, and didn't have to bus it from Hamilton Ontario. The Lotus developed a wheel bearing problem and I had to return to Canada by a certain date. Principal Cellist happened to walk by my Lotus in Tanglewood's parking area and he chatted a about cars and I mentioned my problem and he mentioned he had a '69 Alpha Spider, a Jag and a Chevy and I was simply astounded when he offered me his Chevy to return to Canada. Unbelievable and unforgettable!

- Dwight
Wasaga Beach, ON
My younger sister and I were probably 8 and 5 years old in 1944. I clearly remember traveling in our 1936 big black Buick sedan from Stamford, CT, to Tanglewood. There were no major highways on this trip then, and I remember the radiator boiling over on one occasion and stopping somewhere in the Berkshires to attend to this. But my clearest memory is my sister and I having the most wonderful time in the maze of clipped hedges, an important feature of the formal gardens which were maintained throughout those early years. With the symphonic music in the background and knowledge that our mother and father, and assorted extended family members, were nearby seated on our blankets outside the music shed, we gloried in cavorting through the green maze. The hedges seemed very tall to two little girls! My love of Tanglewood has continued throughout the ensuing years.

- Dorothy
Brooklyn, NY

- Nicholas
Waltham, MA
Read more of Your Tanglewood Tales:
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