JULY 30, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—On Thursday evening Miss Thompson and I went with Mrs. Auerbach from Hartford to the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood. It was a beautiful concert but everyone, I think, felt a little sad because our thoughts turned to Serge Koussevitzky who died on June 4, 1951. This festival was his inspiration, as was the music school and all that is done at Tanglewood.
The conductor was Charles Munch and he began the concert by playing Mozart's Masonic funeral music, asking us beforehand not to applaud but to rise and stand at the end in memory of Dr. Koussevitzky.
Dr. Koussevitzky's wife came in just before the concert began and I could not help thinking what a difficult and emotional night this must have been for her. The music was beautifully rendered by the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and nothing could have been more fitting than this tribute to the memory of a great conductor.
Then the orchestra played Schumann's Symphony Number Four in D Minor and after the intermission Berlioz's Fantastic Symphony.
The French Ambassador and Madame Bonnet were there to enjoy the really beautiful rendition by the orchestra. They had come from Detroit and hoped to go for a week's holiday in Seal Harbor, Maine, but Madame Bonnet was none too sure that her husband could get six days of rest and change.
I hope the Berkshire Festival will continue to be upheld by the public because it is a fitting memorial to Dr. Koussevitzky and one that the public should continue to appreciate and support in every way possible.
Before going to the concert we dined at Elm Court, which has become an inn and restaurant. They pointed out to me the elm under which Harry White, President Woodrow Wilson and others must have discussed terms of the World War I peace treaty. I could not help thinking how much an old house could tell if only the walls and furniture could talk.
Evidently many of the furnishings and pictures were left in this house when it was sold. The grounds are the real beauty and they have been fortunate, for their elms seem to have remained untouched by the beetle.
Taste has changed greatly since these houses of rich people were built. On the whole, I think taste has improved. There is more simplicity today regardless of the money you may have to spend. Perhaps there is less money to spend, too, and I am not sure that is not a good thing if it drives us to more study of real beauty of line and simplicity as well as better use of our space.