Last Wednesday, after returning home from work, I promptly packed a picnic dinner and headed to the Esplanade with a few of my housemates. We descended the Red Line at Charles/MGH and walked to the Hatch Shell to see the Landmarks Orchestra perform—for free—“Green Masterpieces: Vivaldi and Piazzolla”. The Shell has free classical music every Wednesday, and sometimes even the Boston Pops perform. It is an event that is sure to brighten your hump day. The Hatch Shell is also home to free movie screenings and concerts throughout the week, all of which are great ways to mix up your work week (although, there was one concert put on by Green Day back in 1994 that may not have been all that fun and relaxing for viewers- it ended in a riot after lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong ripped up a flowerbed).
The atmosphere is perfect for anything from first dates to reunions with old friends. People were there with dogs, with their entire extended family, with foldout tables decorated with gourmet cheeses to complement the bottles of Funky Llama they had surreptitiously slid between the folds of their canvas bags.
On Wednesdays, the performance starts at 7PM, but be sure to get there a little early; arriving at 6:50 meant we had to sit in the back where the sound quality was a little poor and it was difficult to see given all the speakers and heads in front of us. Lay out a blanket to sit comfortably on the grass and bring a sweatshirt if you’re prone to getting cold while listening to classical music by a river as the sun goes down.
The Landmarks played Vivaldi’s “Autumn” and “Winter” and followed with Piazzolla’s “Primavera Porteña/Buenos Aires Spring” and “Vernao Porteño/Buenos Aires Summer”. They concluded with a waltz and a hoedown written by Copeland. The venue was fantastic and the soloists were very talented. The concert began with the host explaining that the pieces were selected based on their inspirations from nature (cool!) but then went on to explain, for the next fifteen minutes to an audience of about a thousand, how to send a text message (not cool!). TTYL, right?
As we sat back and unwound from our workday, we discovered that Wednesdays at the Hatch Shell are a relaxing way to mix up your week. Set the date with your family or coworkers to get out of the office and into the sunset. Besides, taking two hours to hear great classical music is an excellent way to keep your composure while hearing new composers, something that a young Billie Joe Armstrong apparently could not do while performing there.