Wesleyan Professor of Music Neely Bruce played in an extraordinary concert in the summer of 2011 at the Caramoor International Festival—it brought to the stage the Baroque instruments that would have been played in the mansion at Monticello (harpsichord, Baroque cello and violin) and the fife, fiddle and banjo that would have been played in the slaves' quarters. It was an astonishing program, curated by Paul Woodiel, a three time winner of the New England Fiddle Contest and a former private lessons teacher at Wesleyan (and great colleague of ours).
|Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton. Image by Bill Steber Photography.|
The concert also features Dennis James and the first-ever appearance of a glass harmonica on the Crowell Concert Hall stage. Mr. James has recreated the instrument originally designed by Benjamin Franklin. We all know what it’s like to dip a finger in a glass and circle it around the rim until a sound is formed. That’s the operating principle of the glass harmonica, whereby spinning glass disks (bowls) on a common spindle are configured with the lower notes (larger disks) to the left, and higher notes (smaller disks) to the right. The shaft is turned by means of a foot pedal (now motorized), and the sound made by touching the rims of the bowls with moistened fingers. By the way, you are invited to attend a free lecture/demonstration on Saturday morning at 11am in Crowell Concert Hall, where you can see and learn about the instruments played in the concert [fiddle, fife, banjo, harpsichord, and glass harmonica] up close.
This anchor concert to our year-long exploration of Music and Public Life is absolutely not to be missed.
Music at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
New England Premiere
Friday, February 1, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$24 general public; $19 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students
Pre-performance talk at 7:15pm by Professor of Music Neely Bruce
Lecture/Demonstration: Instruments at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 11am
Crowell Concert Hall