Short Takes: Early May, Innisfree Garden

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Innisfree Garden opened earlier this year than it has in the past, though the daffodil viewings scheduled for April were put off, waiting for the daffodils to catch up. Finally, by May 3, they had.

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Listening List

The day before the visit to Innisfree, violinist Sabrina Tabby, who is graduating from Bard’s Conservatory of Music this year and will go on to Northwestern University for an advanced degree, gave her degree recital. The well-conceived and beautifully performed program, Something Old, Something New . . . included, along with works by J. S. Bach and the premiere of a fine new work by Bard student Tamzin Ferré Elliott, Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major (1923-1927) and Bartók’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Sz. 86 (1928). (For photographs from the recital, click here.)

For the Ravel and Bartók on Spotify, click here

On YouTube:



Tamzin Elliott’s Sveitaar, sveimen var Kvieoinen: ‘Koorwei, Koorwei

While not the piece played at the recital, Sveitaar garnered some very fine press and has a wonderful back-story. As reported by Zachary Woolfe in the New York Times:

It is hard enough for a young composer to invent sounds. But Tamzin Elliott invented an entire culture. . . . I left the concert eager to hear more of this simultaneously archaic and fresh Ingaaric music. But there was no mention of it in the authoritative New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. A Google search yielded nothing. It seemed that Ms. Elliott had played a clever trick on her audience. Her elegant hoax was the highlight of the showcase, “First Songs” . . .

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14 thoughts on “Short Takes: Early May, Innisfree Garden

  1. Jane and Lance Hattatt

    Hello Susan,
    How we wish that we could have joined you for Sabrina’s recital. She is such a self assured and talented musician who is not afraid to push forward boundaries musically. We are certain that the event would have been very special indeed and are grateful for these snippets to allow us to have some of the flavour of the performance.

    We are very much looking forward to the Bard Orchestra’s visit here in Budapest in June. What joy that you introduced us to these exceptionally talented musicians who have enriched our lives in great measure. We shall always be in your debt for this.

    What glorious photographs of Innisfree. A perfect complement to the music.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Jane and Lance: I was so happy to be able to attend. I’ll look forward to your reports when Bard’s orchestra comes your way in June, too!

  2. friko

    My daffodils are long finished, decaying and fallen over. I can’t wait for the end of May when I strim them off completely.

    They are almost a pest round here, this being so Welsh/English they are planted on every verge going. They become a commonplace, vulgar sight almost, blowsy and ubiquitous.
    Enjoy yours while they’re fresh and virginal.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Friko: They were lovely and fresh that day, to be sure. We don’t see many daffs here. I’m not sure why that is–it’s not that they won’t grow (although only a couple stragglers made it of the ones we planted at great effort last year), so the daffs that are visible are always a welcome sight.

  3. David N

    Your photojournals of the magical-by-name-and-nature Innisfree have become interwoven with life and imagination for so many of the rest of us. Especially startling are the virgin fronds uncurling among your far from vulgar daffs. What’s the exquisite blue bird? Clearly indigenous to the States; sure we don’t get them here.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: That is a wonderful thing about the internet sharing, isn’t it? You’ve brought so many magical places to us, as well. I see you share Friko’s feeling about the daffs. I have to say I welcome almost anything in bloom this time of year, but I did particularly love the contrast of the fronds rising up among them, another aspect of Innisfree we saw for the first time this year with its early opening. The bird, as best, in consultation with Mom, I’ve been able to identify seems to be a blue-gray gnatcatcher. If so, a first for me and amazing to catch in one snap without my longer lens. Here’s an image to compare: My photo shows it as bluer than it appeared in life, but that seems to be the way the camera read the color in the available light.

      1. David N

        Far too poetic-looking a bird to be called a ‘gnat-catcher’! And no, I don’t share Friko’s feelings about the daffs at all – I love to see whole carpets of them, especially at Kew. Though tulip time is my personal favourite, and the parrot varieties the ones I love. Now is tulip and peony time here, plus the flowering of the Judas tree. Wandered delirious around Glyndebourne lake over two wonderful days talking and filming, and the way the red tulips and peony pop up through the long grass by the water was the greatest among many pleasures. You really must try and squeeze in a visit during your time here – we could take the stunning two–mile walk over the hill from Lewes to the house, so beautiful on a sunny but very windy Sunday late afternoon.

        1. Susan Scheid Post author

          David: Big thumbs up at our house in response to a Lewes to Glyndebourne outing. Let’s do try to do that! I remember photographs of the grounds on your blog, so beautiful. Was your most recent Glyndebourne walk related in any way to your interview with Ticciati on TAD (though as I recall, the interview itself was in a rather more humble place!), which I commend to all: He seems to exemplify all the fine things about Glyndebourne Opera you’ve written of in the past.

          1. David N

            Only inasmuch as Ticciati is conducting the Rosenkav, and I was down there on Sunday to talk about the opera and on Monday to film for the BBC – very excited, how much they’ll use, I don’t know, but the team have the unheard of luxury of making a 90 minute documentary. Part of the new brief of supremo Tony Hall. The tide has turned, hurrah.

            Anyway, I’ll try and get a blog about it in before the season opens on Saturday.

            I believe your last thoughts were that Gbn would be too expensive. But since I should be able to get hold of tx, not cheap I know, you might leap at the chance of seeing the very best England can offer in every respect… I am still head over heels in love with the place.

            1. Susan Scheid Post author

              David: Do let us know when the documentary can be seen! Alas, yes, not this year for attending the opera at Glyndebourne, though it’s clearly a national treasure. Perhaps one day . . .

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark: Per my comment in response to David, consulting with Mom, what we think is it’s a blue-gray gnatcatcher, but I’m not terribly good at identification. Bluebirds I do know, though, so not that–but I’m very pleased to report we have a pair once again nesting in our yard. That Bartok is wonderful, isn’t it? I was so glad to be introduced to it. I was pleased to be introduced to more of Tamzin Elliott’s work, too. I enjoy where her musical imagination takes her. In that regard, one thing I was very sorry to miss was a Georgian Choir Spring Concert at Bard, but, thanks to Facebook, there’s a delightful front porch practice session of one of the pieces I’m assuming they sang. Wish that sort of thing happened on front porches in my neighborhood! I’m not sure if this is generally available, but, if so, you can hear Tamzin, Max McKee, and Anna Bikales singing “Georgian on the Porch” here:

  4. Brigitta “Britta” Huegel

    Dear Sue,
    thank you for this wonderful stroll through Innisfree garden! The slide show is superb – you caught the freshness of spring, its vigorousness so well – and the little violets look breathtaking! What kind of bird is that on the photo? (Oh, I see in the comment above: a bluebird. Never have seen or heard one. Lovely!)

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Britta: I thought of you when I photographed the violets! So glad they meet the approval of your keen eye, too. The bird is not a bluebird (we do have those in our yard, happy to say, so, among birds, these I know well), but, as best we can determine, probably a blue-gray gnatcatcher–though I am, as you know, not the best at identifications.

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