Saturday, August 25, 2012

In My Own Backyard

Usually in mid to late August I find chanterelles , and plenty of them, in a few selected woodsy spots not far from here.This year, the harvest was meagre to say the least, in fact almost non existent! A week ago upon returning home from week on the Cape (where I searched in vain for the elusive Matsutake),I was delighted to find a small but pretty patch of chants growing in some moss in our back yard-- a small array but we werent picky- this turned out to be the only florescence of canterellus cibarius for the season. My expected woodland cache of these golden mushrooms was a forgotten dream, a fantasy. But these little back yard guys were real (and tasty).

Another backyard discovery was last May when I was trying to come up with a text to set for a commissioned work for chorus. I wanted something that might signify a connection to New Haven or Yale (I even thought about the Wiffenpoof song --to the tables down at Morrys etc..) One day I was walking in the expansive New Haven Green and was admiring the symmetry of the three churches which stand on it, when I thought how these Colonial-Federalist era congregations sustained and nurtured a number of singing master--composers, one of whom, Daniel Read, was a quite prolific publisher and composer of psalm settings; his famous "Windham" ("Broad Is the Road") is still popular in shape note singing societies.
There it was, right in my "backyard" a genuine New Haven source for my piece. Indeed I am sure Read led his choristers in many a robust singing of that particular psalm in one of those actual churches, in my own "backyard." of New Haven.
If you can't find what you desire, try looking closer to home.