Testimonials for Beethoven Walks

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

In June 2020, Yellow Barn opened the first two Beethoven Walks trails in Putney, Vermont. Below is a collection of comments that we have received from visitors. Learn more about how to take a Beethoven Walks trail, and afterwards send us your thoughts and photos.

Be sure to take the Hannum Trail before it closes on September 8th!

I just got back from my walk—what an extraordinary experience! It was so magical to be surrounded by the sketches—especially at the listening places, I loved how all of them were angled towards the sitting benches so they seemed to be gazing at you while you looked back. I took your advice and listened without headphones, which made for a great conversation between the recordings and the varying speeds of wind. Each track and spot was really its own gem—I loved that the Mass was elevated and looking down, while the orchestral introduction of the Emperor movement seemed to be part of the ascending landscape, and of course, the uprooted tree at the Heiliger spot was jaw-dropping. By the end the sketches felt like friends—I was sad to exit the forest! I imagine it will be so touching for musicians and non-musicians alike. Also, while in the forest I think I forgot about the pandemic for the first time since it started...which is really saying something.

I did the Hannum trail Beethoven Walk today.  What an awesome experience!  I don't know where to begin—I'll never hear that music the same way again, and I've never experienced the forest and its noises, silence, and movement in that way before.

I went on the Hannum Beethoven Walk a few weeks ago and OH it is such a beautiful, beautiful thing you’ve made, thank you thank you thank you! For those of us who can only handle so much screen-time, it left our hearts soaring with the same feeling that a live performance brings—the adventure of not knowing what’s around the corner, of giving over to an experience. The way the forest sounds mingled with Beethoven added a kaleidoscope of new shades of feeling and meaning—and left me thinking, how have I never brought Beethoven into the sun—dappled, thrush-laden summer woods before?!? It didn’t feel like a stand-in artistic experience, it felt like THIS is how to listen to Beethoven! Period! And to have his manuscripts painting the path like that...it was magic—pure, loving magic!

The walk is a masterpiece. The cathedral of the pines is a holy place. The wandering, swirling rivulet below the bench is a place of peace. We can list many more such places along the way, each a masterpiece of nature and nurture. We hope, aside from all the complexity one finds upon leaving the woods, and aside from the fleeing nature of this installation and of life, that you feel great pride in what is. 

I'm writing to you having just done the beautiful Hannum hiking trail. I was drawn to it by the Yellow Barn app, and I must tell you I absolutely loved it. I've been coming to Putney for many years in the summers but I'd never known about this trail, so I'm very happy to have found it, and I intend to return often! As a music lover, long acquainted with the stories of Beethoven dreaming up his sublime ideas while walking through his woods, I was genuinely moved and delighted to experience this amazingly imaginative and artistic illustration of his process - it's truly inspiring and it was clearly done with such loving care.

I had never hiked that part of the Hannum-O'Connor trail before and had no idea how well-designed and beautiful it is—not in the sense of dramatic views, but rather a window into a quiet Vermont woodland, complete with ferned glades, majestic hemlock groves, trickling streams, and rocky outcrops. And then the Music—some of Beethoven's most moving and sublime compositions beamed right to my cellphone as we strolled the winding path. Ecstasy! The many excerpts from his own drafts and scores decorating the trees along the trail, while not very legible to the novice, give a visual suggestion of the master's energetic genius. It's a wonderful undertaking. Don't miss it!!
We stumbled upon the Beethoven Walk section of the Trail and felt like we fell down the rabbit hole!
Amazing, inspiring…