Just Walking Around the Mid-Hudson Valley

Morning view, looking south

Morning view, looking south toward Beacon

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there, and mystery and food.

—John Ashbery, Just Walking Around

The photographs were taken on September walks in Innisfree Garden, on the Walkway Over the Hudson, and in Beacon’s Long Dock Park. They are grouped by location, and the first photograph from each new location is indicated by label.

Also in the Hudson Valley, a brilliantly curated exhibition of work by photographer Gordon Parks is on offer at Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center through December 13, 2015. “In 1948, [Parks] began a professional relationship with Life that would last twenty-two years when he proposed a series of pictures about the gang wars that were then plaguing Harlem. Parks gained the trust of one group of gang members and their leader Red Jackson . . .” [citation] The exhibition shows not only the completed Life Magazine article, but also some of the raw photographs Parks took, getting us behind the scenes to understand the impact of Life’s selection on “the making of the argument” (the title of the exhibition). Particularly affecting are photographs of domestic scenes, only one of which was used in the ultimate magazine article [photo 3 here], as well as photographs of Jackson, who outlived Parks, in old age. If you aren’t able to attend the exhibition, samples of the work shown in the exhibition may be found here and here. You might also enjoy reading Josie Holford’s post on the exhibition, which you may find here.

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Listening List

David Aldeborgh founded the Bruckner Archive in Poughkeepsie, New York, and attended Poughkeepsie Day School as a child, thus providing a rationale of sorts for offering a Bruckner symphony here. For more about Aldeborgh and the Bruckner Archive, click here and here.

Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 7 in E Major, WAB 107 (1883; rev. 1885)

On Spotify (Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin; ed. Nowak)

On YouTube (Abbado/Lucerne)

From Michael Steinberg’s program notes about Symphony No. 7:

The focusing of [Bruckner’s] vision of the symphony was a slow process . . . as was the acquisition of the requisite technique. He had been a brilliantly apt pupil of the contrapuntal wizard Simon Sechter, but that training was useful only up to a point. Studying Tannhäuser with his next teacher, Otto Kitzler, Bruckner discovered that there were sources of nourishment simply not dreamt of in Sechter’s philosophy. Bit by bit, he learned from Beethoven about scale, preparation and suspense, mystery, and the ethical content of music; from Schubert, something about a specifically Austrian tone and much about harmony; from Wagner, everything about a sense of slow tempo, a breadth of unfolding hitherto unknown in instrumental music. With this knowledge, he made music like no other, naive and complex together, homely and sublime.

Six of Bruckner’s symphonies begin with a hum from which thematic fragments detach themselves or against which he projects a spacious melody. In the Seventh, as Robert Simpson so aptly puts it in his beautiful study The Essence of Bruckner, “the entrance . . . leads to a very lofty and light interior . . . “


Credits: The sources for quotations may be found at the links indicated in the text. The photographs, as always unless otherwise indicated on the blog, are mine. For more information on the George Trakas installation at Beacon’s Long Dock Park, click here. For a virtual tour of John Ashbery’s home in Hudson, New York, click here.

Effect of fountain, Innisfree Garden

Effect of fountain, Innisfree Garden

17 thoughts on “Just Walking Around the Mid-Hudson Valley

  1. shoreacres

    I enjoyed your slide show so much. I thought, “How did she do that?” Eventually, I figured it out, but on my theme the slideshow is much smaller, and not as impressive. That made me wonder if it’s time to change my theme. I still love the one I selected in the beginning, but if I change, it will be permanent. It’s so old that if I give it up, I can’t have it back. Still, I’m wondering if I need a more modern look, and a cleaner font. Maybe I’ll just set a second blog, mark it private, and mess around for a bit. Decisions, decisions.

    Your photos really are delightful, especially those of the river. And I was most interested in Gordon Parks. I hadn’t heard of him, and found his images affecting. His biography had some surprising tidbits, too: like the fact that he was the director of the film, “Shaft.” I didn’t see the film, but of course I know the theme, sung by Isaac Hayes.

    And yes, I was amused by this, from Steinberg’s program notes: “… Bruckner discovered that there were sources of nourishment simply not dreamt of in Sechter’s philosophy.” The good lines just never die, do they?

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: Frightening prospect to change a theme. I wonder every now and then if mine will go (or has already gone) out of date. It took me quite a while to figure out the slideshow, but now that I have, it’s served me very well. I am pleased you enjoyed the photos–the same places I always go, but somehow always different (or at least I hope so).

      We went to a talk about the Gordon Parks exhibit tonight by Russell Lord, photography curator of NOMA. He’s the one whose brainchild the exhibit is, and he came up from New Orleans today I think (poor fellow, as it’s cold and wet here–he lost about 20 degrees and the sunshine to travel north). The talk was terrific, amplifying nicely what we’d seen in the show. I’m really pleased this exhibit came our way (it’s been to several university campuses, starting in New Orleans, then Charlottesville and Grinnell, and next is going to Berkeley).

      I’m delighted you picked up on that line from Steinberg’s notes–you are absolutely right, the good lines never die!

      1. shoreacres

        Grinnell College? as in Grinnell, Iowa? that’s not even 30 miles from my hometown. I used to go over there regularly to use the library, when I was in high school. It was especially useful when the debate topic was: Resolved: that Red China should be admitted to the United Nations.

        Oh, my. Time flies, indeed.

    2. Steve Schwartzman

      On February 10, 1985, Gordon Parks gave a talk in conjunction with his exhibition at the Austin Museum of Art (Laguna Gloria). I attended the presentation and afterwards made a 3-D portrait of Gordon Parks with his pipe in his mouth. (I just tracked down that stereo card, which is how I can be sure of the date.)

      Not surprisingly, a good part of the audience that night was black. I remember thinking, even way back then, what a contrast that made with the many other art openings I’d been to, which hardly any black people ever attended, even though such openings were always free. I made the same observation about black people not attending classical music performances, including those that were free. Here we are three decades later, and unfortunately I can’t say much has changed on that score.

      1. Susan Scheid Post author

        Steve: Lucky you to have been able to hear from Parks himself. Would love to see your stereo card. Your comment on the audience demographics reminds me of attending a concerts of the Kremerata Baltica and of Neeme Jarvi conducting the Estonian Chamber Orchestra and Choir. In each case the place was packed, and I suspect, almost certainly at the KB concert, with a majority of Estonians and other Eastern Europeans–folks who are big classical music lovers, I think, but I don’t typically see that. In a similar vein, I rarely see many young people at classical music concerts I attend, despite the availability of special offer and discount tickets, but young people were everywhere at John Adams’s Nixon in China, and they fill the halls at new music concerts (in those, hardly a gray hair in sight).

            1. Steve Schwartzman

              During Borges’s visit to Austin, I happened to learn when his departing flight was scheduled. I went out to the airport at the right time and found him sitting there waiting, so I struck up a conversation with him and also took some pictures with my stereo camera. Today that would be impossible because I wouldn’t be allowed into the departure area without a boarding pass, but things were much looser back then, as we of a certain age remember so well.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Larrymuffin: So pleased you enjoyed the post and photos from my little neck of the woods. While I do have English “connections,” like you, I’m this side of the Atlantic.

  2. hilarymb

    Hi Susan – I loved the views of the Hudson and Innisfree … just gorgeous – and one day I’ll get to the music aspect, and the poetry aspect … but I love nature. Thanks for putting these up – and the slide show is a delight .. cheers Hilary

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Hilary: So pleased you enjoyed the photographs. Speaking of photographs, I don’t know whether you had a chance to click the links relating to the Gordon Parks photographs, but I think you might really appreciate them.

  3. David N

    As you already know, I find it such an anchoring to return with you to Innisfree at different times of year: it can hardly be more magical than you make it in your photos, though I do hope to visit it. The light here seems just like what we’ve been having over a glorious week (sadly not so for our churches walk, but it got better that Saturday).

    Thanks for linking to Josie’s thoughts on the photos – they’re wonderful in their own right, quite apart from the sociological content and the choice of subject.

    As for nature and music, I’m reminded that there was a rather fine Austrian Tourist Board film on the end of a New Year’s Day concert DVD, featuring the Vienna Phil horns in various national parks. Needless to say the scherzo of Bruckner’s Seventh complemented another sunny day in Austrian nature.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: I’m so pleased you enjoyed the Innisfree photos, particularly as you travel to so many places and come back with such beautiful photographs, while I often feel I’m taking the same photographs again and again (certainly it’s true of that point at Innisfree that looks out over the lake). But I feel also that marking the seasons of the garden is pleasing. I hope you will have a chance to visit Innisfree in person–as you know, our house is your house, so just say the word. Today was a particularly lovely autumn day. Quite chilly in the morning, but with brilliant sunshine, blue sky, and feathery clouds, just the right backdrop for the trees, which are now beginning to show their glorious autumn colors. I’m hoping the weather will stay fine so that I can go to Innisfree when it opens again later this week, camera in hand.

  4. David N

    We’ve agreed at some point in the recent past that photographing the same place in all seasons, and across different years, has huge value. If only a few more people would look closer at what lies in their own back yard. If I were told I couldn’t get on a plane again, I’d still find so much to the immediate north, east, west and south of London which I’ve never seen and would probably wonder at.

    But you do live in such a beautiful neck of the woods. My first visit to Bard College took me aback at the sheer ‘big country’ that’s on New York’s doorstep. One of your Hudson shots captures the astonishing width of that river. I’d only seen the like in Russia. Ours don’t compare.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: Yes, it’s true about looking closely at what’s in one’s own back yard. Steve, of Portraits of Wildflowers, whom you’ve seen comment here, takes the most exquisite photographs of local widlflowers, many of them tiny, in the area of Texas where he lives. Because of him, I appreciate it even more when tiny sprinklings of wildflowers appear in our front yard. We do live in a beautiful area, and in autumn it really comes into its own. On the Hudson, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to capture the tremendous expanse of that river, and the gorgeous long views from the Walkway. I’ve not succeeded yet, but I hope from time to time I give a glimpse. Another great river, the one I grew up with in the Midwest is, of course, the Mississippi. The way it sprawls out at the delta in New Orleans is unforgettable, as are the views from the Effigy Mounds National Monument near MacGregor, Iowa. (I just pulled up a link on American Rivers that has some nice information on them: https://www.naqt.com/YouGottaKnow/north-american-rivers.html)

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