The Dryden Ensemble will continue to celebrate its 25th anniversary season with a special Baroque ensemble performance titled “A Baroque Tapestry.”
Taking place in the Princeton Theological Seminary on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m., the ensemble’s performance will consist of music from French, German and Italian descent.
“We are playing music from the 17th and 18th century for a bunch of string instruments of the violin family – two violins, viola, cello and bass, then two oboes and bassoon and a harpsichord. So, it’s a very rich ensemble,” said Lisa Terry, who is playing the cello for the ensemble. “We can do music that has strong parts for every single instrument and it’s just going to be glorious. It’s quite a variety and it’s from a spectacularly rich period of music.”
The ensemble, who has been playing together for 25 years, only began rehearsing together a week prior to the performance.
“We have been playing together for 25 years, so we usually have really intense rehearsals the week of the concert. Everyone has their music, they come prepared and then we put it all together,” said Jane McKinley, oboist and founder of the Dryden Ensemble.
Featured in the performance will be a harpsichord solo from organist Jake Street.
“We’ll be doing [Johann Sebastian] Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major [from] Jake Street. … He’s a wonderful keyboard player and organist,” McKinley said.
Looking to keep the production’s music authentic to the time period that it was written in, the Dryden Ensemble will be using instruments that are accurate to the time period.
“We are performing on period instruments,” McKinley said. “So, these are instruments either from the 17th or 18th century, or copies of instruments from that time. They have their own special sounds or tambours. I think it’s really instructive to hear the music played on those instruments.”
Terry, who will be using a period cello for the production, went into great detail on how the older instruments differ from the ones of modern time.
“The old-style instruments are just wood, and they don’t have many keys. So that’s how they sound, they have a more wooden sound,” Terry said. “They give a warmer sheen to the ensemble. Sometimes it’s [rawer] or [grittier] rather than the high polish of a modern ensemble.”
Terry, who has been with the ensemble since almost its inception in 1994, joined the group after meeting McKinley at a social gathering. After immediately hitting it off, McKinley later called Terry to fill in for someone on cello, she said.
“We hit it off so well that I have been with the ensemble ever since,” Terry said.
“A Baroque Tapestry,” which is the Dryden Ensemble’s second production of its 25th anniversary 2019-20 season, will look to capture audiences through the performance.
“There are many wonderful musicians involved, so I think this will be a really exciting performance,” McKinley said. “I hope [audiences] will be entertained, but also learn something and hear some of the music in a new way.”
Terry, like McKinley, is looking forward to the production and what it will offer listeners, she said.
“There are certain pieces where every single voice is equal and there are five parts that have to combine together and nobody is a soloist, it’s all a beautiful polyphony. It’s just an amazing experience to play that rich texture,” Terry said.
The Dryden Ensemble will perform “A Baroque Tapestry” on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer St., Princeton. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at: www.drydenensemble.org.