Fairest Isle, A British Musical Miscellany

Performed on Sunday, April 3, 2005

The Highland Park Recorder Society, and its chamber orchestra, the Garden State Sinfonia, performed a program of the greatest British composers of the Baroque era and the early twentieth century. The concert, “Fairest Isle, A British Musical Miscellany” for chorus, recorders, strings, oboes, trumpets and harpsichord was conducted by John Eisenhauer, M.Mus. in Choral Conducting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Integral to an appreciation of our musical heritage is the music of the Early Baroque and High Baroque, the periods during which the recorder, as an instrument, achieved the pinnacle of its success, both as a respected solo and consort instrument. George Frideric Handel, Henry Purcell, Jeremiah Clarke and James Paisible wrote at high artistic levels for recorders and strings, and on their shoulders stand the recorder works of the great twentieth century composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edmund Rubbra - all featured in this concert.

The program, “Fairest Isle, a British Musical Miscellany,” opened with Purcell’s choral piece from an Ode to Queen Mary, “Come Ye Sons of Art,” for oboes, trumpets, strings, chorus and harpsichord. Also included in the program will be music from Jeremiah Clarke’s, “The Island Princess” for strings and harpsichord; Purcell’s beautiful Chaconne from Dioclesian, to be played by acclaimed recorder virtuoso John Burkhalter of Princeton, with Donna Messer on recorder, and Eugene Roan, Professor Emeritus of Organ and Harpsichord, of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, playing his Willard Martin harpsichord.

Recorder quartets featured dance music of Purcell, music from his opera “Dioclesian,” Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Suite for Recorders,” and Edmund Rubbra’s “Notturno.” Strings performed works by James Paisible. Soloists John Burkhalter, acclaimed recorder virtuoso of Princeton, and Stephen Berkelhammer, recorder and oboe virtuoso, performed music from Handel’s Rinaldo. Stephen Berkelhammer also performed a Handel sonata in B flat for oboe and basso continuo, with Gavin Black on harpsichord, and David Black on cello. The program closed with Purcell’s “See Nature Rejoicing” for oboes, trumpets, strings, chorus and harpsichord.

Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Through a Grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.