WE made our annual outing to Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, this past weekend and are still savoring the memories - and the echoes. Arriving, picnic basket in tow, in the middle of the ``prelude'' Friday evening, and seeking out, almost on tiptoe, a likely spot on the lawn on which to encamp, we were struck by the almost reverential silence greeting the strains of chamber music floating out from the shed. Unpacking dinner, we considered that plastic wrap would have been quieter than aluminum foil. Opening the club soda had to wait till intermission.
Later on, as the main concert began, darkness fell and the almost-full moon rose. Candles and lamps were lit across the lawn, like warm yellow lights coming on in the streets of a town. We stretched out to enjoy the music - never mind what quibbles the critics would make later - and reflect: Summer does not get better than this.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? the old conundrum goes. If the violin plays in the desert, with no audience, is it really music? is a variation. But if the whole orchestra plays in the woods and hundreds and hundreds of people listen, each becomes part of a huge sounding board still resonating long after the concert ends and the crowd disperses into the night.