Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 5, 2013

From Rehearsal to the Real Thing

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
season through September 1, 2013
by Shera Cohen

What is common between Saturday mornings (10:30am to be exact) in the Berkshires and Sunday afternoons (2:30pm)?

Surely, you could visit many museums; i.e. Berkshire Museum, Chesterwood, Norman Rockwell. You might also explore any of the quaint towns; Lee, Lenox, Stockbrige. And, don’t forget the Lee Outlets; i.e. Vitamin World, Chico’s, and Harry & David (the latter being my eclectic favorites).

A more a propos, and the correct answer to my question is – Tanglewood. Except for a few changes in schedule (see Tanglewood’s website), Saturday mornings are rehearsal times for the next day’s afternoon concert. Often throughout the summer season, I take in one or the other – rehearsal or concert. On July 27 & 28, however, I enjoyed both “versions” of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, dubbed “New World Symphony.” Other pieces in the program included another Dvorak’s piece, “Carnival Overture,” and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Why attend a rehearsal? Lots of reasons: listen to the director’s pre-show lecture, attend when the day and time is convenient for you (Saturday vs. Sunday), pay less for a ticket, enjoy a little more relaxed atmosphere, eat a post-concert picnic lunch, appreciate the easier parking. Most important to me, however, and I imagine to others, is a new and different experience of hearing classical music. For example, a conductor often talks to the musicians, giving them suggestions for improvement. Sometimes, entire sections of the music are repeated to “get it” perfect. Not that my untrained ears know the difference, it is obvious that the musicians and the conductor do. Oftentimes, however, an entire piece will run straight through, with some corrections made at its completion. For the audience, the rehearsal’s emphasis is on education.

Why attend the concert instead of the rehearsal? Again, lots of reasons: hear the finished product straight through, mingle with and experience the camaraderie of concert aficionados, spend a little more money (but isn’t it wonderful to support the arts?), lunch at a lovely Berkshires’ restaurant or BYO lunch and eat on the lawn, finish your Saturday grocery shopping and other errands and set Sunday as a day to relax while listening to the BSO (Boston Symphony Orchestra).

As the BSO and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” – both were exquisite. I had heard bits and pieces of this long piece, but never in its totality under July 28th. Whether listened to as a rehearsal with some starts and stops and director comments or “the real thing” or both, Tanglewood is the epitome of the Berkshires beauty and arts in one location.