Friday Evening Baroque features harpsichord

Lovers of early music will find the harpsichord front and center at Friday Evening Baroque, April 1, at 8 p.m., at Wilton Presbyterian Church, 48 New Canaan Road.

Music on the Hill’s Festival Chorus and a small vocal ensemble — performing sometimes together, sometimes as two choirs, and sometimes independently — will perform the Durante Magnificat and works by Telemann, Buxtehude, and more. Artistic Director Ellen Dickinson conducts.

They will be joined by period violinist Daniel Lee and friends. Lee, a violino piccolo specialist, is the founder and co-director of the Sebastians, a leading baroque ensemble.

The instrument that will be showcased is a replica 1584 Hans Moermans harpsichord donated to Music on the Hill in 2015 by Festival Chorus member Larry Erdmann. The original was owned by the esteemed harpsichord maker Frank Hubbard, who played a major role in the 20th-Century revival of authentic early keyboard instruments.

The harpsichord was likely developed in the Middle Ages, but was produced in quantity in Italy in the 1500s. These were lightweight instruments and by the end of the 16th century, heavier harpsichords were being produced in the southern Netherlands. They were widely emulated and by 1625 Antwerp was the center of harpsichord production until the next century when French makers moved in.

The harpsichord, which produces a sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed, was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music until it was supplanted by the piano in the 18th century.

According to Erdmann, who was Hubbard's business partner during the last years of the builder's life, the original instrument was built "during the great era of Flemish builders." Erdmann encouraged Hubbard to develop drawings to build a Flemish single harpsichord based on the Moermans original, which led to the instrument featured in this concert.

Tickets for Friday Evening Baroque are $20 purchased in advance at; $25 at the door. Tickets may also be reserved in advance by e-mailing or by calling 203-529-3133.

Music on the Hill presents "Friday Evening Baroque" at 8 p.m. on April 1st at the Wilton Presbyterian Church at WEPCO, 48 New Canaan Road. About Music on the Hill  

Music on the Hill, now in its fifth year, is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to high quality music performance and education for all ages. There are opportunities for music through workshops, an August Summer Sings series, and four performing ensembles: the Chamber Chorus; Festival Chorus; Summer Chorus; and the Jubilate Ringers handbell choir. These groups perform, in rotation, six to eight concerts each year, primarily in Wilton, Weston, and Westport.