Monday, March 30, 2009

Boston Accents and Degrees of Separation

Even though I grew up in Boston, I never had a Boston accent. My parents came from Chicago and Philadelphia, and I seem to have inherited a virtually accent-less Midwestern way of pronouncing my vowels. I can't even reproduce a Boston accent accurately, but I can tell a real one from one that is fabricated in an instant. My friends' parents spoke with Boston accents. I always wanted one, but it never seemed to happen.

While working on the music for the program that I played yesterday, I found myself wondering if Amy Beach might have had a Boston accent. She was born in New Hampshire to solid New England stock, and she fit right into the Boston elite.

The audience that comes to the violin and piano concerts that I play is a mixture of young people (students, our families) and old people. Very old people. Some of them in their 90s.

There is one concert-going woman in town who comes from Boston. She has one of the thickest Boston accents I have ever heard. She really responded deeply to the Amy Beach sonata. I suggested that it might have something to do with where Beach came from, and the way she may have spoken. Caroline agreed, and she added that they were also contemporaries. Thinking about the fact that the Violin Sonata was written in 1899, I suggested that might be stretching it a bit. But Caroline noted that Beach died in 1944, and that she was around in 1944. Caroline was an adult in 1944. Wow.

(Listen to Beach's Hermit Thrush at Morn for nice treat.)
(This Romance is certainly going on one of our next WHAM concerts)


Michael Leddy said...

Now I know what to get you for your birthday, Elaine.

Elaine Fine said...

But it has to be a real one!

T. said...

How on EARTH did I miss the fact that you grew up here?!

Hope that means you'll be visiting!

Elaine Fine said...

Yes. Probably in June.