Baroque music at Grey Towers

| 30 Jun 2015 | 02:31

Baroque music — played using original period instruments — filled Grey Towers Great Room on June 20 when Ancien Regime Baroque Trio made up of Arnie Tanimoto (viola da gamba), David Ross (transverse flute), and Daniel Swenberg (theorbo) took the stage.

The instruments are the precursors of modern day flute, cello, and lute.

Linda McKean, Grey Towers' communications director, and Kindred Spirits program representative introduced the concert. Kindred Spirits organized the concert.

“Joseph Pinchot built this place, in fact his portrait is hanging on the wall in this room," McKean said. "This is the perfect for this kind of group, this is the way the Pinchot family would have used it.”

The Trio performed their rendering of Baroque music on the original instruments the way it was meant to be played, using some improvisation as was the custom of the times, they explained in between playing.

They also interspersed their fluid and beautiful performance with anecdotes of the history of their instruments, enough to arouse the curiosity of those present to line up to talk some more with the musicians afterwards, if it wasn’t there already. Swenberg switched his instrument to a precursor of modern guitar for part of the performance, a much smaller instrument.

The trio performed music by Couperin, Marais, Lully, and Hotteterre, all famous composers of the French cultural renaissance during the 17th- and 18th-century reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Swenberg explained it feels a little like you’re royalty when you play the tunes.

One of the pieces was in fact a soothing melody specially played to Louis XIV at bedtime — there were not iTunes or computers in his age.

Concert goers were very pleased with the program.

Francis Naftal came from nearby Montague, N.J. She explained, “I think it’s wonderful. The instruments that are played are unusual, and in this place, Grey Towers. This feels special.”

Patricia and Allan Rosof have a summer place in Hemlock Farms. They were in the area from New York City, and said, “It’s great to have this in Milford.”

Two young listeners were spell bound.

“How can you not like this?” exclaimed 16-year old Denah Hutzelmann, who goes to Delaware Valley and plays the violin herself.

Amanda Hutzelmann, who’s already in college, gave her wholehearted agreement.