Have you been having an art-full summer?


100_0199My son and I traveled to Cooperstown this past Tuesday (July 30) for a wonderful day of visual and performing arts (with a yummy lunch in between). Our agenda: the Hudson River School and Wyeth exhibits at the Fenimore Art Museum, an alfresco repast at The Blue Mingo Grill and Glimmerglass Festival’s strong, well-sung production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. (Performances continue this month for those of you wishing to follow in our path.)
What have you been doing in the arts? Did you participate in First Friday, groove to singers at the Spiedie Fest, visit a museum? Please share.

— Barb Van Atta


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1 Response to "Have you been having an art-full summer?"

  1. Lee Shepherd

    With impending storms last Friday (Aug. 2), the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra-sponsored concert by the Winds on the Water ensemble was moved away from the Chenango River — held not at the Peacemaker’s Pavilion near RiverRead Bookstore but inside at the Broome County Council on the Arts office on State Street in Binghamton. And what a good decision, as it’s my opinion that with open-air concerts, the sound just dissipates into thin air.

    Winds on the Water, featuring Liz Shuhan, flute; Mark Snyder, oboe; Sarah Chandler, clarinet; Dan Hane, bassoon, and Alex Shuhan, horn, treated us to a program of tunes mostly transcribed from other musical media. Almost all woodwind quintet music is transcribed, Shuhan explained, because the woodwind quintet wasn’t invented until some time in the late 1800s.

    From a delightful Haydn Divertimento to a suite made up of sea shanties by Malcolm Arnold, it was the perfect way to showcase the talented BPO musicians and to launch a First Friday stroll around the art galleries on State Street.

    Icing on my “artfull” cake this week was the Madrigal Choir-sponsored bus trip to Tanglewood on Sunday (Agu. 4) to hear the legendary Yo Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra play the Dvorak Cello Concerto (in B minor, Opus, 104), a short fanfare, Fireworks, Opus 4, by Stravinsky, and The Rite of Spring (“Le Sacre du printemps,”) also by Stravinsky.

    It may be heresy to say this, but although Yo Yo Ma was on top of his game, I’ve enjoyed his performances more on PBS than in “the shed” at Tanglewood, mostly because of the acoustics and logistics.

    Seated near the back, I had to strain to hear the exquisitely delicate strains of the concerto. And with very little pitch to the seating, I was unable to see the stage. In occasional glimpses of the orchestra between the heads in front of me, Yo Yo Ma appeared about an inch high. No matter — because I know the piece so well, my brain filled in the unheard notes. I think the audience in the cheaper lawn seats actually had the better deal, because the sound is amplified and broadcast via speakers.

    There was NO problem hearing The Rite of Spring with its driving pagan and primitive dissonances and rhythms. Watching Charles Dutoit (when I could see him) conduct the unfathomable time signatures with great sweeping circular arm motions was a hoot in itself. The original performance of the ballet set to this music caused such a ruckus that the audience rioted and the concert was aborted. Not so on Sunday – we were justifiably enthralled. Even 100 years later, the work still sounds shocking and primal.

    Despite the acoustical insufficiencies, it was a thrill to hear master cellist Ma play a work that just wrenches your heart out with its beauty. And the Tanglewood setting, on a beautiful day, is worth the three-hour drive to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

    Watch for this trip again next summer. No doubt the lucrative fund-raiser for the Madrigal Choir of Binghamton will be repeated.