Pictured Above:  Soprano Teresa Wakim who will be performing for the Dryden Ensemble on March 25 in Solebury, PA and March 26 in Princeton, NJ.  Photo Credit: Contributed

The Dryden Ensemble presents “Pergolesi & Bach” March 25 & 26

Dryden Ensemble presents Pergolesi and Bach on March 25 and March 26. This concert is a memorial to those lost during the pandemic.


(PRINCETON, NJ) – The Dryden Ensemble presents “Pergolesi and Bach” on Saturday, March 25 at 3:00 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Church, Solebury, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, PA and on Sunday, March 26 at 3:00 p.m. at Seminary Chapel, located on the campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ. Tickets prices are $25 for general admission, $40 for patrons, and free for students with an ID. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at the organization’s website.


This concert is a memorial to those lost during the pandemic. Featuring soprano Teresa Wakim and mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith, the program opens with music by J. S. Bach: a sinfonia and soprano aria from Cantata 21, Seufzer, Tränen, Kummer, Not (“Sighs, tears, grief, distress”). It is followed by an alto aria from Cantata 187, Du Herr, du krönst allein das Jahr mit deinem Gut. Lutenist Daniel Swenberg will perform Silvius Weiss’s Tombeau sur la mort de M. Comte de Logy, written to commemorate the death of the Bohemian composer and lutenist, the Comte de Logy, in 1721. Weiss was a contemporary of Bach’s who served at the court of Dresden and visited the Bach household with Bach’s son Wilhelm Friedemann. The first half closes with an elegiac work for strings: Johann Heinrich Schmelzer’s Lamento sopra la morte di Ferdinand III. It was written in 1657 to mark the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III who died of the plague. Schmelzer himself succumbed to the plague some twenty years later.


The concert concludes with Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s famous Stabat Mater from 1736, which he wrote at age 26 in the weeks before he died of tuberculosis. Based on the text of a 13th-century hymn to the Virgin Mary, it describes the sorrows of Mary as she witnesses the suffering of her son from the base of the cross. Though Pergolesi was not well known during his short lifetime, his Stabat Mater propelled him to a posthumous stardom. The work was the most printed piece of music during the 18th century and often arranged by other composers, including J. S. Bach. Praised for its freshness and melodic grace, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater transcended its original ecclesiastical purpose and has endured because it creates a moving, profoundly human picture of a grieving mother.

Pictured Above: Mezzo-Soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith will be performing for the Dryden Ensemble on March 25 in Solebury, PA and March 26 in Princeton, NJ.  Photo Credit: Contributed

The Dryden Ensemble’s season finale, “Swan Songs,” takes place on Sunday, April 16th at 3 pm at the Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel. Half French and half English, it includes music from the French court and works by Henry Purcell. The ensemble will be joined by acclaimed actors Roberta Maxwell and Paul Hecht and the extraordinary Julianne Baird, who has been hailed “a national artistic treasure” by the New York Times.


The Dryden Ensemble includes Jane McKinley, oboe; Mary Hostetler Hoyt and Edmond Chan, violins; Amy Leonard, viola; Lisa Terry, cello; Anne Trout, double bass; Daniel Swenberg, lute and theorbo: and Webb Wiggins, chamber organ.


About The Dryden Ensemble:

Named in honor of John Dryden, the English poet laureate whose words inspired Baroque composers including Purcell and Handel, the Dryden Ensemble specializes in performing music of the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments.  A line from Dryden’s Song to St. Cecilia captures the essence of baroque music and the ensemble’s philosophy:  “What Passion cannot Musick raise and quell!”

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