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Monday, August 13, 2012

A Tanglewood Medical Mashup

Tanglewood  is ever poised for its key demographic. You can’t miss the  L'il Medic Vending Machine and Philips HeartStart Defibrillator just inside the main gate at Ozawa Hall—Tanglewood’s smaller venue devoted to weeknight chamber concerts. On a recent visit by this blogger, the L'il Medic was filled to SRO capacity with packets of Benadryl, Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, DayQuil, Bayer Aspirin, Advil, Tylenol Extra, and Trial Antacid.  Beside it, the defibrillator, suggesting an oversized fire alarm, offered added assurance.


Although a roving eye revealed discreetly nested folding wheelchairs in the back of the hall, superannuation’s  magic horn also had its youthful moments last Thursday at Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music. Second on the bill was Elliott Carter’s buoyant, mercurial Double Trio, composed in 2011. At age 104, Mr. Carter and his music proved inspirational to the much younger seniors in the hall and to the musicians in their 20s who performed the piece with energy and conviction.

Coda: I Screen, You Screen . . . 
Meanwhile, Wig & Pen has noticed what may be an age-based divide in the much larger Tanglewood music shed. For several years, three large screens have given viewers in the back third of the shed sparkling high-definition close-ups of the action on stage.  This option has value because the distance and sight lines from those seats can make viewing challenging. In spite of this visual “equalizer,” Wig & Pen, through observation and conversations, suspects that many senior concert goers are more reluctant to embrace the screens than younger audience members.  Perhaps life-long concert-viewing habits die hard? Or veteran concert goers are less comfortable with innovative visuals than screen-obsessed younger generations?  If you’re a social scientist reading this blog on your computer or iphone screen, you may want to look into this.

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