The village of New Marlborough lies on Route 57 about fifteen minutes east of Great Barrington. Its principal feature is the village green, where the well-known Inn on the Green stands next to the historic Meeting House. The latter is the home of New Marlborough’s enterprising “Music and More” series, directed by Harold F. Lewin, which is now in its twenty-third year and aims to bring “a diverse and distinguished group of authors, actors, musicians, artists and films to the Berkshires.” Having attended many concerts and other events at the Meeting House, I can certify that its intimate setting provides a generous but clear acoustic and a warm, friendly atmosphere, and that Mr. Lewin has fully justified the stated intention.
This recital was part of New Marlborough’s enterprising “Music and More” series, directed by Harold F. Lewin and now in its twentieth year, which has certainly succeeded in its stated intention of “bringing a diverse and distinguished group of authors, actors, musicians and films to the Berkshires.”
Beethoven completed the Variations, Op. 44 in 1792, long before he undertook the task of setting the world to rights. It is remarkable that a year after Mozart’s death and while Haydn was regaling London with a succession of masterpieces, this young man of twenty-two could write music that sounds like Beethoven and could not be mistaken for a product of either of the two older masters. The variations are by turns elegant, soulful, sparkling and exuberant, and the performance characterized them beautifully.
One Christmas my magic daughter gave me a picture of a baboon. Above it she wrote Prospero’s valedictory line: “I’ll drown my book.” The animal had an expression of imponderable grief on its face. Words are exclusively human. But could it be said that animals sing? Music sets words free, back to their primal origin, leaping into the heart. Music is a language of knowing, of certainty. It has the raw truth of the baboon’s face. Maybe Prospero, whose name signifies hope, begins to sing when the book is drowned and the grief is past.