Finally, a good Russian story. No, not Vladimir Putin or lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with DJT, Jr. Instead, it was Daniil Trifonovv, the brilliant young pianist who thrilled audiences last week at Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Just 26 years old, he started at the age of five in Moscow and is a rising star on the world concert stage. The Franz Lizst look-alike is sometimes called this generation’s Vladimir Horowitz.
Further drip-drip-drip revelations about the Trump family’s connection to Russian attempts to intervene in our democratic processes, the embarrassment our President is as a failed leader in global activities, the impact of his crude and uncivil social media behavior even on children and teens in the United States, just a few of the reasons the news is soul-sucking on a daily basis. Which is why I’m trying to seek out every no-Trump zone possible this summer, to save my sanity.
There is no happier refuge from the politics of stupidity and hate than the rolling hills of the Tanglewood Music Center, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Boston area, the biggest challenge is finding a b-&-b or inn to stay in that doesn’t require a three-night minimum. But you can also drive out for a day and sit on the lawn, either for a Saturday morning open rehearsal or Sunday afternoon concert. (We ran into neighbors who were so enchanted with gorgeous virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter’s Saturday rehearsal of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto that they came back on Sunday afternoon to hear it again.)
Sitting on the lawn gives insight into how elegant picnics can be, some complete with tablecloths and even an occasional candelabra. Except at the usual traffic backup at the intersection of the MassPike and Route 84, it’s not a particularly taxing trip to make. And the payoff, in music and setting, is well worth the effort. (Besides classical fare, there are also programs of jazz and contemporary music and popular artists like Sting and Diana Ross.) If I sound like a tout, I unabashedly am. I started going to Tanglewood as a 15-year-old camper and have loved being there ever since.
Given the political context in which we live, it’s reassuring to note that there are havens for peaceful reflection and shared cultural experiences. Tanglewood is surely an important one.