Music from the Age of Benjamin Franklin

Performed on Sunday, April 2, 2006
Also performed on Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The Highland Park Recorder Society, and its chamber orchestra, the Garden State Sinfonia performed in the United Methodist Church, New Brunswick, a concert of delightful music that was heard in America at the time of Benjamin Franklin, the tercentenary of whose birth we celebrate in 2006. Furthermore, we had offered a taste of New Jersey’s musical history. The concert consisted of music by composers who were active in New Jersey and elsewhere during Colonial and Federal times. The music is selected from an enormous archive of eighteenth-century music in America, which has been extensively researched over decades by Gordon Myers, Prof. Emeritus, The College of New Jersey, with the aid of Rockefeller Foundation grants, and recently given, with great generosity, to the Practitioners of Musick, Professor Eugene Roan, Emeritus, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and John Burkhalter.

The music for this concert was selected collaboratively by Highland Park Recorder Society Conductor John Eisenhauer and Messrs. Roan and Burkhalter. It included works by composers who were born in Europe but were active in America, such as George Knowil Jackson, Hans Gram, William Selby and Peter Albrecht von Hagen; and works by American-born composers Oliver Holden, Francis Hopkinson, and Jacob French; and New Jersey-born James Lyon. Some of these works have most likely not been heard since those times.

The program included works performed at a concert which took place in the New Brunswick courthouse Sept. 3, 1799, led by composer/conductor George Knowil Jackson, including the chorus “Happy, happy we,” from Handel’s opera “Acis and Galatea.” Our concert will include Handel’s “Concerto VII for String Orchestra and Continuo;” Robert Woodcock’s superb “Concerto No. 4 in A Minor”; Hans Gram’s “America,” a “new march”; William Selby’s “Voluntary in A Major”; arrangements of popular airs and dances; John Stanley’s “Trumpet Voluntary”; music of Peter Albrecht von Hagen; and vocal pieces by other esteemed masters.

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.