The Orcheftra of New England performed tonight just steps away from home. But from the moment we entered the United Church, one of three historic churches on the New Haven Green, my neighbor Penny and I entered a time machine.
Mr. James Sinclair, the director, was born in Cambridge, Mafsachufetts in 1724 and prides himself on bringing the latest music from overseas to the colonies and now new country. This night was the premier of the new ‘Hayden” Sinfony in D. And it was a charmer.
But the former-war-correspondents-turned-entertainment-critics sitting in the balcony couldn’t resist a heckle or two. They were especially hard on the organ meister from Leipzig Mr. Hall, as they complained that Bach “has too many notes.” They adored the soprano Mifs Alison King, even as they chastised Mozart, the younger, whose works she excerpted. “An upstart,” one declared. Mr. Sinclair replied, that he is young, but has “some worthy music.”
They were not following the expressly written rules:
“Silence is requefted during the performance of the several Pieces. No laughing, talking very loud, or squawling. No overturning of the Benches, &c.”
My friend was concerned that “the Dogs being employ’d as Footwarmers be walked periodically, outfide the Meeting-houfe.” We hoped we could comply.
The familiarity of several of the pieces made this particular rule difficult for me: “That there be no whiftling during the playing of familiar Tunes…” You know me, I’m a whiftler.
In addition to glorious music that sounded exquisite in the church, the banter and character of the performance was unforgettable. Hope you get a sense from this slide show: