As we anticipate returning to this ever-so-charming area of England next month, we’re looking back on previous visits – such as this one, with our Bath Mozartfest tour guests in 2015:
Our guests have been looking forward to a day in the Cotswolds – it’s been twenty years since they were last here! Well, this is a part of the world that probably has not changed much in twenty years – and the Cotswolds like it that way!
Even in the drizzle the villages are a delight…we walk along the river trailing through Bourton-on-the-Water, well-prepared with our umbrellas. After greeting the duckswe stop for a warming lunch in The Rose Tree, then bundle up and explore further.We’re not the only ones exploring the village, other umbrella-toters are taking in the late fall beauty as well.The drizzle continues as we drive on to quaint little Bibury – doesn’t this look like a fairy- tale illustration? A plus of the dreary weather is that there are fewer sightsee-ers here today. In September we had trouble finding a parking place, and had to weave between busloads of people checking out the tiny village. Now we can actually see the entire Arlington Row,picturesque cottages built in the 1300s as a monastic wool store, and later lived in by weavers in the 17th century. Current owners keep them beautifully maintained both in front and behind. Just a few memories – we’re looking forward to exploring yet more when we return!
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Bordeaux region, France
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! How about an unforgettable holiday with us at New Years’ Jazz in Italy?
Fall is such a fabulous time to be in southwest France, with brilliant reds and golds garnishing the grapes heavy on the vines (harvest is a little late this year). We start our day with a morning walk in the vines, and every once in a while move aside when a bike or two whizzes by – there’s a rally going on in the neighborhood.
New this year at Orpheus and Bacchus, a group of younger musicians are presenting the works of Hummel, an under-rated composer of the late 18th and early 19th century. The “shade of Hummel” strides into the room and shares reflections of his life and interaction with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, then the Nova Luce ensemble beautifully performs some of his arrangements and compositions. After lunch with the musicians we’re on our way to Saint Emilion, our favorite Bordeaux wine village. Set on a hill above miles of rolling vine-striped hills dotted with elegant world-renowned chateaus, it’s eagerly awaiting the harvest. Wine boutiques offer the prized elixir on every lane, and the amazing monolithic (rock-hewn) church soars from underneath the ground to the highest point of town. The steep streets ramble under arches and down beside vines growing right in the village, and on the steepest lane of all, we find our reward – delicious canelés, the chewy pastry of the region.
From the top of the town we look out over terracotta roofs clustered along medieval cobbled lanes, then wave goodbye to one of Bordeaux’s loveliest.The Wihan Quartet opens the evening of music with Schubert’s Death of the Maiden Quartet, then pianist Ben Frith wows us with Schubert’s last sonata. A concert on the unique duo-clave piano was on the schedule for tonight, but one of the pianists was unwell and could not come to the festival, so Ben stepped in with this astoundingly beautiful and challenging sonata – just happened to have it “up his sleeve”!
A special treat awaited me before the after-dinner concert, when, with another pianist I…. well, I’ll let Kirk tell you about it:
“Positively giddy with excitement, Anne played a Dvořák piano duet on a Pleyel two keyboard piano. Scroll down for the video!
First she had to roll it to center stage, then find her keyboard under the heavy protective padding.
This takes a little coordination, deciding who’s playing which part (Sight-reading! First time I’d seen this music)
Gaining speed on the runway, and we have lift-off (click here to listen to the music)!These 4 hand, 2 keyboard, 1 instrument pianos are a novelty. Only fewer than 50 on the planet. But better playing eye to eye than shoulder to shoulder – and you have the use of the entire keyboard without overlap or collision. I suppose you could play it with 8 hands. I didn’t count them but I think there are 176 strings in there.”
This was certainly the most fun I’ve EVER had at a music festival!
Wednesday September 23, 2015
The Cotswolds, England
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?
It’s one of those special birthdays…ending in a 5…and where in the world have I chosen to celebrate? In the peacefully gorgeous Cotswolds in England! And in one of the most beautiful places in which we’ve ever stayed, Lords of the Manor in the tiny hamlet of Upper Slaughter. From the first glimpse of the golden stone mansion tucked into luxuriant gardens, I was absolutely delighted.
And then the gracious hostess walked us through the cushioney and inviting sitting areas, and down winding hallways to our room as the delight continued. If there were anything available to eat this late in the afternoon, we’d just stay right here! But getting out of Heathrow took too much time, as usual (longest passport control lanes we’ve EVER been in!) and with the nearly two hour drive on top of that, it’s waaaay past our lunchtime! The closest place to get a bite to eat at this time is Bourton-on-the-Water, not far from the Manor, so off we go. This area and our beloved Aix are both filled with buildings of a honey golden stone, its color shade-shifting as the light changes through the day. What could be more satisfying on a crisp fall afternoon than a cream tea? Oh how I love that dense clotted cream – there’s just nothing like it! Slathered on a raisin-studded buttery scone, topped with a smear of strawberry jam….just what I wanted on my birthday 😉
A stroll around Bourton-on-the-Water confirms the fact that we’re here at the most beautiful time of year, with fall hues joining the lush flower-filled window-boxes and gardens – heavenly! Have you ever seen so many colors of hydrangea on one bush?!Winter’s coming…and this home is well-prepared with a hefty stack of firewood by the front door. Back to Lords of the Manor for a cozy nap to help us get over jetlag, enjoying the fragrant lavender as we pass.Then we’re off again for a pub dinner in nearby Lower Swell (loving these names!), before returning for a good night’s sleep – we’ve got lots of fun to pack in the next few days!
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! We’re looking ahead to Spring – May in Venice, Barcelona, or Prague, and our newest – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival (stay tuned for updates!)
Has Fall been as gorgeous where you are as where we’ve been? From France, to Italy, to New York, and right here in Virginia, we’ve been dazzled and delighted by the rich hues of autumn….here’s what we’ve been up to:
Our France/Italy adventure began in Paris, where the Luxembourg gardens slipped gracefully into their seasonal dress,
and then to our place in Aix en Provence, where the colors in the market enticed us every day… what can we make for dinner with this gorgeous squash?
We walked uphill out of town to Cezanne’s studio, remembering the thrill of holding one of his works (an autumnal landscape) owned by an Aixoise friend…. knowing that in a few weeks we’d be joining these friends in New York to watch the painting go on the block at Sotheby’s.
We always enjoy this walk, today tinged with fall colors, and imagine the artist climbing the hill for some of his favorite views of Mont Saint Victoire.
Next stop? Rome (our low-fare flight took us via Barcelona, so that day we had breakfast in France, lunch in Spain – at the airport – and dinner in Italy!), on our way to Molise. Molise? Never heard of it? Well neither had we….until Kolidur Tours, who is working with a special European Community commission to help the little region get onto traveler’s itineraries, invited us to come on an Educational Tour of the region. We’ve got lots more to tell about Molise, but keeping to our fall theme – here’s a colorful place to take a break in the pretty little village of Pescocostanza.
Sometimes coming back to Virginia is rather ho-hum, but not this time, because our son and family arrived the day after we did and we loved every minute of our fall week with them.
They live in Texas, so do not have the gorgeous colors that we have during this season… and this year’s colors have really been spectacular. Our morning walk around Lake Anne in Reston holds new surprises every day, as the leaves turn. Ivy took home a bag of oranges, reds and golds to show and tell.
Last but not least of our fall adventures – New York City! We arrived in time for the Sotheby’s auction, which was a wonderful experience – the excitement of the bidding, the chance to just sit and view one beautiful Impressionist work after another – spent some time with our Aixoise friends, and the rest of the time we walked and walked (and ate and ate!).
Here’s a fun and pretty brownstone from the Upper East Side – just one of the charmingly decorated homes we appreciated as we strolled the city streets.
What’s next for us? Back to France in a few days, and meanwhile we’re hard at work planning our newest tour in our beloved Aix en Provence… an early spring week (April 19-26) of glorious music (from the new Easter Festival) and luscious sights and tastes in the south of France. We’ll be in touch with details soon!