As the tower clock in the 1907 Carriage House at the Jay Heritage Center ticked 4 p.m. on January 29, lovers of baroque music took their seats in a historical venue for the third “Juilliard at Jay” concert.
As the tower clock in the 1907 Carriage House at the Jay Heritage Center ticked 4 p.m. on January 29, lovers of baroque music took their seats in a historical venue for the third “Juilliard at Jay” concert. Visitors heard the Juilliard-trained artists of Concitato, a Baroque chamber ensemble, perform on authentic centuries-old instruments including drums, violin, dulcian (precursor to the bassoon), oboe, guitar, harpsichord, and even bagpipes. (Visitors learned that Spanish music had Celtic influences.)
The lively pieces, composed between 1550 and 1781, included folias compositions by Andrea Falconieri and Alessandro Scarlatti, and vibrant tarantellas and seguidillas by lesser-known composers. Said Concitato’s harpsichordist, Jeffrey Grossman, “So much of this music is filled with popular tunes and dance rhythms: its energy can be infectious.”
In fact, one performer likened the Spanish composers to being the Lady Gagas of their time as the tunes were omnipresent on the streets of 17th- and 18th-century Spain. The program, titled “A Minister in Spain”, reflected the music Rye’s John Jay may have heard during his visit to Spain as America’s Minister Plenipotentiary from 1780-1782.
Artists Priscilla Smith (oboe and bagpipe), who was returning for her second Jay performance, and Grant Herreid (guitar and percussion), making his first appearance at the Jay, demonstrated their talent at vocals as well. It was also Nate Helgeson’s (dulcian) first visit to the Jay, and his rarely heard instrument intrigued many in the audience, children and adults, who stayed for the Q & A afterwards. One young guest even got the chance to try out the harpsichord.
Joan Plana (violin), the founder of the group, repeated how much he enjoyed playing at the Center because of the venue’s unique acoustics and intimate, meaningful setting.
Long term, JHC hopes to convert the carriage house into a multipurpose performance amphitheater, perhaps with practice studios upstairs; the combination of its mahogany ceiling, brick floors, and tile walls create a unique resonance that complements the music and voices within the space.
Given the overwhelmingly positive response of both the audience and the performers, JHC and Concitato are delighted to announce another performance of “A Minister in Spain” on May 20.