Sunday, October 19, 2008

Princeton Reprise

A friend, Jane McKinley, is the musical director of The Dryden Ensemble, which specializes  in performing 17th and 18th century music on period instruments. The group was playing an all Bach program in Princeton this afternoon, and so I hopped onto the New Jersey Transit from Penn Station, and was in the university town in about 80 minutes.

I had planned time to visit the Princeton University Art Museum before the concert. It is a small teaching museum that is also open to the public, and free. I did not care very much for its small collection of 16th-18th century European (many Dutch) paintings, although I liked Abraham Bloemaert's The Four Evangelists (1612-15) for its inquiring lion looking so incongruous beneath the table. 

In the 19th to mid-20th century section, I was very taken by Gabriele Munter's Self-Portrait in front of an Easel, and by Edouard Vuillard's gorgeous Woman in an Interior (Madame Hessel at Les Clayes). The lower galleries held collections of ancient Asian, Islamic and American art. I looked at some Chinese calligraphy, and reacquainted myself with the small-standard and draft-cursive scripts.

The concert took place in the Miller Chapel, a full portico Greek Revival church, in Princeton Theological Seminary. The baritone Richard Lalli sang, accompanied by the ensemble. I particularly liked his performance of Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort (Settle account! Word of thunder) from BWV 169, and Schweig! Schweig! aufgeturmtes Meer (Quiet! Quiet, heaving sea!) from BWV 81, both of which he rendered with power and emotion. Lisa Terry on the violoncello played with feeling the Adagio from Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1029. It was also a treat to hear the oboes da caccia, played by Jane and Virginia Brewer, for the aria Mache dich, mein Herze rein (My heart, make yourself pure) from St. Matthew Passion

3 comments:

glbynum said...

Thanks for this concert review, Jee Leong. I'm interested to know how those musicians are doing; I played with Lalli at Yale in the
1990's once, and will be performing with Lisa Terry this coming December at Morris-Jumel Mansion.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi Greg,
What interesting connections. I hope you are doing very well.

glbynum said...

Thank you, Jee Leong. I hope you are well also.