Le Triomphe de l’amour, New Jersey’s chamber music ensemble performing music of the Baroque on period instruments, will present a concert on Saturday, October 30 at the Unitarian Church of Princeton. The concert, titled “Mr. Handel and Friends at Home,” presents music enjoyed in Handel’s house in London. Guest artist Daniela Pierson, baroque violin, joins members of the ensemble Laura Heimes, soprano; John Burkhalter, recorder; Donna Fournier, viola da gamba; and Janet Palumbo, harpsichord. John Burkhalter will present a pre-concert talk at 7:30 pm; the concert begins at 8:00 pm. In his talk, Mr. Burkhalter will discuss the musical practice in 18th-century London of friends gathering to sing and play musical instruments for mutual entertainment. From 1723 until his death in 1759, George Frederic Handel lived at what is now No. 25 Brook Street, London. It was in this house that he composed many of his most celebrated works, including the Messiah, his last major English oratorio, Jeptha, and the Music for the Royal Fireworks. Within his chambers, preliminary rehearsals for the opera Alcina took place as well. Handel's neighbor on Brook Street, Mary Pendarves, later Mrs. Delany, recorded in brilliant letters the musical activities that took place at Mr. Handel’s home as well as at her own town house just down the street. Friends and musicians gathered to perform and to listen to the newest solo compostions, fresh from the pens of Handel and his contemporaries, as well as chamber arrangements of the most popular songs and dances from larger works, engraved and distributed by Handel’s publisher John Walsh.
The concert will include instrumental and vocal chamber music by Handel and his contemporaries. Violinist Daniela Pierson will be featured in Handel’s Violin Sonata in E major. Harpsichordist Janet Palumbo will perform Handel’s Harpsichord Suite in D minor and Handel’s most enduring work for solo harpsichord, the “Harmonious Blacksmith” Variations. Carl Friedrich Abel was another German-born composer who spent much of his career in London; his Prelude and Allegro for solo viola da gamba will be performed by Donna Fournier. Mr. Burhkalter, on recorder, will be featured in Walsh’s arrangements of airs from several Handel operas, including Alcina and Julius Caesar. Soprano Laura Heimes will perform airs from Handel’s oratorios and operas, in chamber music arrangements published in London and meant to allow smaller ensembles of musicians to perform these favorite songs in private house concerts. Ms. Heimes will sing “Oh had I Jubal’s lyre” from the oratorio Joshua and “Lusinghe più care d’amore” from Alexander. Also on the program are Thomas Arne’s cantata Cymon and Iphegenia and songs from Comus and his English opera Eliza. Music by Pepusch, Boyce, and Giardini will complete the program. The music on this program will be prepared using original sources in the Roan-Burkhalter collection of rare 17th-18th century musical prints.
Violinist Daniela Pierson has performed with Le Triomphe de l’amour many times, thrilling audiences with her expressive and energetic playing. Soprano Laura Heimes has been praised for her “sumptuous tone and shimmering clarity” and has been a featured soloist in concerts from Carnegie Hall to California’s Carmel Bach Festival. She has taught at Westminster Choir College and Swarthmore and has recordings available on several labels. John Burkhalter is a well-known lecturer on cultural history. Janet Palumbo, a founding member of the ensemble, has been featured on Brazilian national television. Le Triomphe de l’amour has recordings available on the Lyrichord and A Casa Disco labels.
Tickets may be purchased at the door for $20 general admission, $18 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. For information, call (609) 252-0522 or visit the ensemble’s website at www.triomphebaroque.org. This concert is made possible in part by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.