Mozart in the Gardens
A few years after my father-in-law died, I organised a birthday trip for my husband to Vienna, taking with us his mother and a great friend of hers, another Fiona. Geordie’s birthday is in November so it was wintery, with flurries of snowflakes eddying around us as we explored the city, shopping, following the enticing scents of outside food markets and happily looking forward to welcome and utterly delicious hot chocolate in warm cafes.
From wandering through impossibly grand royal palaces in the daytime, we stepped into smaller gilded rooms in the evening, shaking off the cold weather and coats to sit in small intimate gatherings and listen to the musical world of Mozart. With the musicians and audience sitting within a few feet of each other, the chords and concertos, songs and sonatas filled the space and soul.
Over the last eighteen months such moments have been replayed solely in memory, although the efforts of choirs and musicians to keep up morale has been unparalleled and so generous, whether over zoom or web. Yet, like many others, financial survival for many has undoubtedly been challenging.
Yesterday we organised our own “Mozart in the Gardens” in memory of my mother-in-law who began a musical charity, The Newbury Spring Festival, 44 years ago. Every May, except of course for the last two Mays, it has welcomed outstanding orchestras from around the world for two weeks of concerts and recitals. Music has no man-made boundaries; it brings us together and the festival also promotes young musicians and school audiences.
This past Sunday, we welcomed thirteen musicians to play here at Highclere. It has been a good project, helping them with practice rooms, transport and fees as well, we hope, raising a little money for the festival.
If that is the practical side, the day itself was about pleasure: music, castle tours, garden tours, champagne and afternoon tea for those who kindly joined us. It is an entirely musical conversation between those playing and those listening and who else was there to pick to play but Mozart. His music reconciles, alleviates tension and liberates us from the moment. It is like a fairy tale and has such ease and grace none of which really characterises our world at the moment but we need his moments of immortality.
To quote Albert Einstein: “Mozart is the greatest composer of all. Beethoven created his music, but the music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it – that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed”.
One thing Mozart’s music couldn’t achieve was to make the sun shine, yet nor did it rain. As the predicted weather was offering some curve balls, we decided we needed a marquee, moving closer to the Castle and away from the temple surroundings we had originally envisaged. However, as these past months have been all about pivoting – reacting and repositioning and in this case literally carrying chairs and adjusting timings, we took this in our stride. Sally scurried around decorating the marquee, I was back picking flowers and Luis and banqueting brought out the food prepared by Paul the chef and his team. John G actually swept and hoovered the marquee.
At the end of the day, everything worked out and I hope our guests left with happy memories of a wonderful English summer event, complete with the almost obligatory British weather. I, for one, would like to say a huge thank you to these wonderful musicians for all their efforts and very much will look forward to other concerts next year.
Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for your description of this lovely event.
I love your photos of this wonderful event at Highclere! I bet the music was lovely and a delight to hear as well!
How wonderful to do this for your Father.
Lady Carnarvon l like the pictures of Mozart music thank you for the email
What a marvelous day. I am now going to pull out some cds & listen to Mozart. Thank you
Enjoy your afternoon listening to Mozart
I would love to attend a concert at your Beautiful Castle. One day hopefully, I can. Have a lovely Day.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of Mozart and music and thank you for the email
Sounds like heaven to me- beautiful music at beautiful Highclere! I can hardly imagine a better way to spend a day.
A very impressive activity in these difficult times!
Muharrem Shqarri, Albania
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of Mozart music and lovely classics music and thank you for the email
Wish I could have been there .
Thank you for this lovely article and photos.
Lovely. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post to brighten my otherwise gray Monday in Georgia, USA,
Lady Carnarvon and lovely pictures with the harp of Mozart music
What a lovely event. Wish I could have been there.
Our memories of Vienna, Saltburg concerts are still fresh in my husband and I’s minds
Seeing and hearing young hopeful giving such brilliant performances gladdens the heart
Are you doing the same event next year?
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of Mozart music and Mozart pictures and thank you for the message
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I would love to have been there, listening to Mozart drifting around your stunning gardens & Castle in the Summer breeze……as close to Heaven as it’s possible to get!
I wish you & everyone at Highclere a safe healthy & successful Summer,
Thank you – you are very kind
Good Morning! What a lovely idea to have a musical concert! There is nothing more uplifting than hearing beautiful music carried on the wind, floating gently as on butterfly wings, touching each one of us with joy.
What a lovely event. I can’t think of a better place to listen to Mozart then at Highclere drinking a bit of champagne.
Thank you for sharing,
Beautiful afternoon listening to Mozart
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Mozart’s music touches the soul unlike any other composer, and you have written so beautifully of the eternal aspect of his compositions. Thank you, and thank you for supporting musicians so that they may continue with their work. Trying times indeed, and your resilience, and that of your wonderful team, is an inspiration.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of Mozart music
I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon. Great music in such a lovely setting. I’m sure everyone had a wonderful experience.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I marvel at your dedication and hard work, you bring Highclere alive, and create a wonderful sense of interest and intrigue. Like all our friends who have commented, I wish I was there too!
We were thrilled to attend our first outdoor symphony recently.
The first since the pandemic began
We were transported by the beautiful sounds of our Charlotte Symphony here in North Carolina, led by Christopher Lees to a simpler time. They didn’t perform Mozart pieces this time but, a little Bach was wonderful
What a wonderful tribute and fabulous setting for such a grand event. Mozart lives in all our musical hearts!
What a lovely event! It must have been such a thrill to hear live music again. Mozart’s music is truly magical.
Thank you for continuing to showcase the arts. Wish I could have seen it?
When do you open for tours again?
Thank you Stacey – The Castle is now open for small tours
I could hear Mozart in my mind while reading about the scenery and “obligatory” summer weather! What a wonderful afternoon. I will be actually listening to Mozart this afternoon on Pandora, and often thereafter with tea. Thank you for the lovely idea!
I agree about Vienna and music there, extraordinary!
Mozart in the car relaxes me when driving in traffic. I could imagine listening to Mozart anywhere at Highclere is wonderful!
Aloha & blessings,
What a lovely way to start a Monday morning. The picture of the sheep in the field with the castle and Mozart playing in my mind. Thank you for your always positive posts, and one day I hope I can see your beautiful home in person!
Thank you Cela
Lady Carnarvon, Great music, atmosphere, and refreshments, sounds like it could not have been any better. Well done to all. Cheryl
This sounds absolutely fabulous! One more reason to coordinate visiting my sister in London with your festival next year. As the founder/owner of a Classical music label here in the states, listening to such music in your festival would be a “busman’s holiday” as we refer to this over here. Wonderful to “talk” music with you after writing you about your Steinway in the music room so many years ago when the programme was still being broadcast!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Pure heaven! Mozart’s music…..sheep grazing…..beautiful scenery……view of the castle.
Nothing more enjoyably uplifting and soothing.
Thank you. Stay well, stay safe.
Good morning dear Lady Carnarvon,
Visiting England has been my lifelong dream. I love china stamped on the bottom with the words “Made In England”, English gardens, English tea, English Chintz, and of course English architecture (castles and farmhouses!). My DNA takes me back to England through my Jennings relatives. They came here, the USA, some time in the late 1600’s into the 1700’s. My love of ANYTHING English is in my DNA!
I’ve been brought to involuntary tears viewing scenes of the countryside and as I’m getting older the possibility of visiting our hallowed ground is getting less and less probable. Your lovely vignettes help me to “live there” albeit for a brief time. I can’t thank you enough. Please continue so I can see beautiful England through your beautiful eyes.
As a professional musician/teacher for over 50 years, I have been heartbroken knowing musicians have lost their living to perform music which has been decimated during this pandemic. Of course firstly, the population has to be cared for, but music is so important for everyone and should be available for all, remember Vera Lynn during WW2? So many musicians are in difficulties at this time.
Thank you for having musicians play for you, it means so much to them. I hope your thoughtfulness will reach out to other music lovers who will make the effort to help musicians carry on with their life’s work.
You have painted such a glorious picture of the summer music event with your beautifully eloquent words. I enjoy every minute of your blog entries. Thank you for spiriting me way to the beauty of Highclere.
Today, Monday 21.6.21 is European Music Day! And just now we have a classical music concert from Vienna via Eurovision TV, and I am reading your lovely description of the Mozart event at Highclere. Oh, to be able to be at the castle for Mozart in the beautiful grounds, one day for sure. May you have a most happy, healthy and successful summer, full of visits and events!
Thank you Lady Carnarvon for this lovely description. Can’t think of a more perfect backdrop…
“Alexa, play Mozart”
Your marvelous description of this event reminds me of another which took place about 20 years ago. I have very fond memories of this concert which was at the Wallop Canyon Ranch, the Wyoming home of your late mother-in-law. The music was provided by the Billings Symphony Orchestra, and we all sat on hay bales under a beautiful star-studded sky. Helpers rode by on horseback to attend to anyone needing a bit of assistance. It was a unique experience and one we will never forget!
As I was reading this, my radio station was playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto #14. Your statement, “His music reconciles, alleviates tension and liberates us from the moment.”, does describe listening to it so well. I can imagine sitting in your gardens and enjoying this played live, and feeling all tension leaving my body. That must be a wonderful thing to share with so many people.
Valarie in So. California
Have you considered live streaming such events at Highclere. Those of us “across the pond” would so appreciate “attending” with you. I still would like a webcam view of the scenery surrounding your lovely home.
You have brought to mind all of the wonderful outdoor events we used to attend, especially concerts, prior to the pandemic. Even as things get back to “normal” here in the US most events are still on hold. I do miss the outdoor music festivals from classical to rock and everything in between.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your description of what must have been a marvellous day. Thank you for the photographs – your beautiful smile in your hurriedly prepared music marquee says it all.
As a professional musician/teacher for over 50 years, I have been heartbroken over musicians have lost their opportunities to perform music of all types which have been decimated during this pandemic. Of course firstly, the population has to be cared for, but music should be available for all, remember Vera Lynn during WW2? So many musicians have lost their incomes and homes during this pandemic time.
Thank you for having musicians play for you, it means so much to them. I hope your thoughtfulness will reach out to other music lovers whole will make the effort to help musicians carry on with their life’s work.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures and highcelere castle l like music of Mozart
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of highcelere castle and music Mozart
Both your memories and you gift of helping others – such as the musicians during this challenging time only demonstrates what a lovely person you are. Thanks Karen
Hello from San Diego, California, U.S.A.!
Thank you for sharing this lovely blog on the Mozart concert! What a wonderful way to have a fresh start and new beginnings with culture and music to lift the soul after such a difficult year for us all.
It is so great to hear the doings of Highclere! For those of us who may never have the opportunity to actually go there, it’s nice to know it still exists and remains alive after all these centuries! Amazing!
Wishing you all the best of health and happiness!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your always-entertaining and exquisitely written glimpses into life at Highclere. Today, looking at the lush green photos of your beautiful home, I am transported from our brown, drought-struck hills and valleys to a less frightening and more peaceful environment. While we watch for wildfires here in Northern California, we long for the days when rain will once again turn our gardens and hillsides green. Even the famous vineyards of the Napa Valley are threatened by
water restrictions that could endanger this year’s harvest.
Thank you for the respite!
I’m sure you’ll all have had a wonderful time, I’ve been to Vienna twice for the Christmas markets, it’s my favourite and I’ve been to quite a few now. I look forward to going again.
As much as I love Mozart, after seeing that last picture I just had to pull up Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”. Thank you for what you do and for communicating it to us each week. It has been a very difficult year for many arts organizations. As a board member of the Irving (TX) Symphony Orchestra Association I am acutely aware of that. I am proud that through extraordinary efforts we were able to complete our season last year and are eagerly looking forward to this new year.
Good Luck going forward!
Thank you so much for this beautiful account. It transported me back to Highclere. I look forward to another visit from the USA as the world opens up again. Best to you and everyone at Highclere. Chris Ayers
Greetings Lady Carnarvon,
Sorry I’m a day late in responding to yet another wonderful blog. Agree with you so much of the wonderfulness of Vienna for it’s history, architecture, museums and palaces and home of Mozart to tour, and most certainly of live music (and of course Sacher Torte!). The same also applies to Highclere Castle as it history, architecture, museum, areas to tour and concerts performed there are SO wonderful to take in (as are the Teas and luncheons offered and created by your wonderful chef).
I enjoyed attending the Newbury Music Festival once during the two years we lived in London (and dining at the Woodspeen!). Hope it is able to carry on given the pandemic as it is quite a lovely and historical event so loved by so many! Love the photos of your event this weekend past. A ton of work for you all for certain, what a team you are able to have, but I am also certain you all felt well worth the effort given the lovely live music you were able to hear. Wonderful that you were able to pull them all together! I can tell by your lovely and relaxed smile that you truly were enjoying the event. Garden cutting look lovely as well as all the castle grounds. Congratulations to you and Lord Carnarvon (and your team) for all that you do to carry on Highclere Castle into the future and for those of us to enjoy it these days. Looking forward to a future visit once again!
How very kind and I hope you will visit us again!
As a music major and retired music teacher I truly appreciate your efforts in promoting music on your beautiful grounds. The event must have been heavenly. Even though the actual sun may not have been shining, there was sunshine for those who were listening to Mozart being performed live. What a glorious day this must have been!
Simply lovely – the event and your description. Best of luck this season.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your Monday blog and sharing the lovely Mozart event and the beautiful pictures that appended to your story with this readership.
I have made this suggestion in the past: please consider establishing a “closed group pay for view” for those who are unable to attend the announced event in person.
Until next time, keep calm and performing classical music under the tent.
Thank you – I have been working on a Friends of Highclere – still working on it – to offer special access- and I hope you might enjoy it! The idea is to bring it to you this autumn…
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you taking the time to reply to my suggestion.
I look forward to receiving the future access details.
Thank you for this beautifully written piece. On a busy, frustrating day when I needed some sunshine – it brought sunny joy to my life.