August on Cape Cod – I just love living here. It’s high season – the town is crowded and restaurants all have lines out the door. Time for play offs for the Cape Cod Baseball League – Wareham won last night as they played the second half of a game called due to fog! And August also means the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival.
Last year I signed up as a volunteer usher at the performances – one of my best ever decisions! This festival is of very high quality, bringing well known performers as well as introducing young musicians. Among those who’ve played here in the festival’s 39-year history are Yo-Yo Ma and Joshua Bell.
During August a dozen performances take place in different venues around the Cape, several being churches. We have few large auditoriums on the Cape, so each concert is quite intimate. The Festival was a delightful surprise for me last year; I never expected such talent. Another of Cape Cod’s surprises.
Last night I heard the Borromeo Quartet perform Schubert, Bach and Mendelsohn. They are so talented and it was thrilling to listen. The musicians must play these pieces over and over, yet each time they display such passion and love of the music. I love to see them sway with the notes and the look on their face is very expressive.
Borromeo members are way ahead of the curve. Instead of pages and pages of a musical score, they use tablets and turn the pages by hitting an attached foot peddle. The stand is much smaller and there is no noise of turning pages. While playing the Schubert, they were using the composer’s original score which was scanned in. Also, Borromeo – and maybe others – play with the full score, meaning their part is not divided out.
With quartets, there is no one conductor. Each piece or movement seemed to start with one instrument playing a note or small series of notes to begin, then others join in. It’s very tight.
There is nothing like the ending of a long piece, with the final few bars being dramatic, and an appreciative audience on their feet shouting ‘bravo!’