The view from Boscobel House is magical. Nestled within 68 acres in the heart of the Hudson Valley, New York, Boscobel House is the turn-of-the-19th-century dream home of wealthy Loyalists, with every detail restored and maintained, and since the 1950s, open to the public. The House overlooks Constitution Marsh, with views toward the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well as acres of lush gardens and the majestic Hudson River dotted with ferries travelling back and forth from Manhattan to West Point and across to New Jersey.
Patti and I were there one recent evening for a Chamber Music concert held within the house, in support of the Palm Beach Chamber Music program. The performance was an all-strings quartet and opened with Beethoven’s lively String Quartet in F Major. As we listened from our front row seats, I took in the surroundings: the antique, yellow-striped wallpaper, the corresponding painted floor, and all of the carefully curated, historically accurate furnishings. I marveled at how every detail was considered to create the acoustically perfect, historic room, ideal for intimate chamber music concerts such as this. The adjoining rooms were also opened up for the evening and filled to capacity. One was a dining room, where the house manager had laid out the antique dining service, as if we would be joining the family for a meal after the performance. The adjacent parlor was also brimming with the lively energy of an enthusiastic audience– a diverse group of listeners some of whom came from as far away as Florida to join in the incredible night of music.
The quartet played pieces by Puccini and Dvorak. I gazed through the classical six over nine pane windows overlooking the gardens and beyond toward the Hudson. The final Dvorak piece, String Quartet in F Major “American” was a solo viola performance of incredible carnival-like folk music. During the piece, the cellist had on his serious face, while the violinists smiled throughout. Ahmad, the Palm Beach Chamber Music director, gave a wink to his partners — proof that they hit the mark this evening. COVID had canceled all events at Boscobel House for the last year and a half and this inaugural event for the Chamber Music program was a smashing success.
Afterward, we left via a walkway lined with ancient apple trees. I fought the urge to strip off a few apples for a nosh and shoved my hands in my pockets. In the distance, the lights of West Point twinkled like stars, as the last ferry made its way across the river.