Aberfoyle Baroque inaugurated its new series of soirées on March 29, 2015, with a program of exquisite French harpsichord music performed by Adam Pearl and Patrick Merrill. The concert was followed by a sit-down French dinner and fine wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. One attendee described the event as “a magical evening”. The thrilled audience delighted in the opportunity to hear the two excellent harpsichordists up close in the intimate setting of Aberfoyle Baroque’s concert rooms. The program featured works spanning one hundred and fifty years of French musical history, from the early innovations of Louis Couperin (1626-1661) to the virtuosic showpiece La marche des Scythes by Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705-1755), music teacher to the children of Louis XV and a famed opera director and composer. Attendees were enthralled by Adam Pearl’s rendition of La marche des Scythes, so much so that some audible gasps of amazement were forthcoming. And, his beautiful touch on the ornate ornamentation in the Jean-Henri d’Anglebert Suite in G major was remarkable. Patrick Merrill’s highly engaging performance of Jean-Baptiste Forqueray and Louis Couperin pieces showcased his highly expressive style and beautiful interpretations.
Following the performance, audience members enjoyed a question and answer session with the performers, who spoke eloquently about the harpsichord in historical context, the particular pieces they performed, and the ingenious plucking mechanism of this unfamiliar instrument. The conversation continued throughout dinner and dessert, with the performers joining audience members at the table for a lively discussion of music and more.
Performers at Aberfoyle Baroque’s Inaugural Soiree:
We were honored to have as our first performers two outstanding artists from the Mid-Atlantic region. Adam Pearl is an award-winning early keyboard specialist and director. He is a member of the Early Music faculty at the Peabody Conservatory. He has been principal harpsichordist for Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare since 2005 and performs regularly with other major early music ensembles. Adam is a laureate of the 2001 Jurow and 2004 Bruges international harpsichord competitions.
Patrick Merrill recently completed a graduate degree in harpsichord at Peabody Conservatory, following an undergraduate degree there in Piano Performance. Patrick begins his doctorate studies in harpsichord performance at Peabody in September 2015, where he is a recipient of the new Peabody Dean’s DMA Fellowship. He is on the faculty of the Department of Music at George Washington Music.
An Evening of French 17th Century Harpsichord Music
François Couperin (1668-1733)
Allemande – L’exquise
Jean-Henri d’Anglebert (1629-1691)
Suite in G Major
Chaconne en rondeau
Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699-1782)
Allemande – La Laborde
La Morangis ou La Plissay
Louis Couperin (1626-1661)
Gaspard le Roux (c. 1660-1707)
Suite in F Major
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705-1755)
La marche des Scythes