Tangle time

"What day is it?" asks my friend here in Lenox, Massachusetts, adding "I'm sorry, I'm on Tangletime". We're here for the Tanglewood Music Festival at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In this world of music and pastoral delights it is difficult to keep track of time. Here BBC can only mean the Berkshire Brewing Co and not the organisation I worked for over 13 years. It's my kind of place. They have been presenting summer concerts here since 1937 and I would say they've probably got the hang of it by now. This year they have everyone from Bryn Terfel to Ben Folds. As a Brit a summer festival means wellies, mud and torrential rain. Here you can stroll the village streets after a show and eat and drink outside on the terrace. Heaven.
 We're staying at Hampton Terrace B&B on Walker Street in a house which was one of the original Berkshire Cottages. We have a claw foot bath and a chiming church bell over the road.

Hampton Terrace B&B, Lenox

Several impressive families owned this house over the years including from 1896 the Struthers. Virginia Struthers' parties were called French Sundays because she allowed smoking and drinking and "actresses" to visit. Author Edith Wharton featured Mrs Struthers in her novel the Age of Innocence. Our host is Stan Rosen, who serves grits for breakfast and when he sees me looking nervous offers a reassuring: "It's just corn!" He tells us just two nights ago Alan Menken, composer of Disney music, was singing at the grand piano in the lounge. We see the video on his phone to prove it and I'm jealous I wasn't here earlier.

Lenox gardens are spectacular

Lenox is both quaint and grand at the same time and appears to be entirely populated by expert gardeners judging by the flowers which are crammed in to postage-stamp sized gardens in the town centre. Last night we attended our first of five concerts. This one was at Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood.

Beautiful sounds in Ozawa Hall
It's the sort of place which makes you want to throw down a chequered tablecloth as soon as you set eyes on it. Miles and miles of green space, grand old trees and every now and then a concert hall making gorgeous sounds. We decided to forego the lawn seating to admire the hall and listen to an amazing concert of new compositions.  Young composers gave a lively explanation of their inspiration for each piece before Tanglewood instrumental and vocal fellows performed it.
Evening falls at Tanglewood

One was inspired by a tweet, another by a poem about the countryside here (The Housatonic at Stockbridge by Ives). Singers shone and we especially loved soprano Jessica Aszodi singing Robert Honstein's arrangement of Destination Moon (High in the starry blue, I'll be out of this world with you). As we stumbled out onto the lawns on a warm evening  at Tanglewood it seemed appropriate. It does feel like we're on Tangletime too.
For more on the Berkshires
For more on Tanglewood Festival


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