By Larry Murray
When it comes to the Berkshires, change comes slowly, and most of our rural sophisticates eschew outright one-upmanship but there seems to be a subtle, and wonderful, rivalry developing between the BSO’s Tanglewood and Mass MoCA.
Before Wilco became the highlight of the Mass MoCA summer, they played at Tanglewood’s shed, with the ushers getting all upset when some attendees started dancing in the aisles. Mass MoCA welcomed the energetic rockers to their campus, and it has morphed into the fabulously successful Solid Sound Festival. I estimate, with a near capacity audience of 9,000 or so, that it is a million dollar operation this year. Let ‘em dance anywhere they want!
Then there is Mass MoCA’s “Banglewood” festival each year when the Bang on a Can gang takes up residence at the museum to create dozens of new contemporary works while looking back at their greatest “hits” and offering an all-you-can-hear Musical Marathon. This year it takes place from July 15 to August 3. At Tanglewood, there has long been an important Contemporary Music Festival, this year August 8-12 and led by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, but it is older and some think too far off in twelve-tone belch-and-squawk land compared to the more rhythmic and melodic doin’s at Mass MoCA.