American Music, Berkshires, Boston Symphony, Brooklyn Bridge, Charles Ives, Charles Wuorinen, Elliott Carter, Gloria Cheng, Hollywood Boulevard, John De Keyser, Leonard Bernstein, New York City, Tanglewood, When Pigs Fly Farm
Maybe I was fated to fall in love in the Berkshires…
Let me flashback to a hot summer afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard in 1968. The bookstores, record shops, head joints, Indian restaurants, foot traffic and motorcycle gangs of Hell’s Angels were prodigious. I’d been inspired hearing The Fourth of July on a CBS Young Persons concert with Leonard Bernstein. Who was this American composer, Charles Ives? Our “Emerson, Twain and Thoreau all rolled into one” as Bernstein had described him.
John Kirkpatrick had recorded the Concord Sonata and I had gobbled it up like a piece of pumpkin pie when I saw the record at an old Hollywood Boulevard legend, Phil Harris Records. No bar lines? No meter? Fists on the piano? Forget the Mahler revival underway, my passion revolved around this American composer from Danbury, Connecticut. Next door to Phil Harris Records was a legendary music shop, our Doblinger’s or Patelson’s, owned by John de Keyser. Oversized scores of Boulez’s Pli selon pli and Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion were in the window display enticing me to enter.
I looked in awe at an item on the shelf. There was the great white whale of American music, The Concord Sonata by Charles Ives.