by Elisabeth Le Guin
Annette Richards. The Free
Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque. New Perspectives in Music History
and Criticism. Edited by Jeffrey Kallberg, Anthony Newcomb, and Ruth Solie.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. xiii, 256pp.
Beyond the French doors of the manor house, a landscape beckons: down
the sweep of lawn, several stands of beeches are just going golden in
the early autumn light, with the fertile promise of mushrooms in the duff
beneath them; behind, a certain pillowed unevenness in the land and richness
in the vegetation suggest a meandering stream. On a rise beyond that,
just visible, the corner of an old stone building; there is the tracery
of a path leading up to it: is it one of those marvelous village churches,
still used by the locals for their simple devotions? Or a mossy, romantic
ruin? Impossible to tell without getting closer. With the delightful urge
to do just that, to explore this agreeable wilderness with its assurances
of a fruitful solitude, the visitor feels her weariness from the long,
dusty coach journey fall away. She moves toward the vista.