MUSIC, ART, AND CULTURE
Old Lyme has it all.
Paper Trail: American Prints, Drawings, and Watercolors
The Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav
Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art
To Our Audience
Welcome to the 28th season of Musical Masterworks. As I enter my tenth season as
Artistic Director (and fourteenth season as a regular performer on the series), I find
myself reflecting on the incredibly rich and rewarding musical journey that I have had
the privilege of taking through this concert series.
Seldom have I experienced such a vibrant rapport between audience member and
performer as I repeatedly do in Old Lyme, and I can feel that connection deepening
each year. The devotion of our audience, combined with the exquisite acoustic and
gorgeous atmosphere of the First Congregational Church, and our ever-growing family
of world-class musicians, make Musical Masterworks the ideal setting in which to
explore the depths of the chamber music literature and to revel in every moment of it.
This December, we will be treated to a performance of Schubert’s transcendent
Winterreise by the extraordinary baritone, Randall Scarlata, and Musical Masterworks
beloved veteran pianist, Jeewon Park. In March, we will get to experience the beautiful
sounds of the classical guitar in the marvelous acoustic of the First Congregational
Church, as we celebrate the Old Lyme debut of guitarist Colin Davin, in collaboration
with perennial MM favorite violinist, Tessa Lark. In October, February and May, we will
welcome back, as always, a parade of our esteemed internationally acclaimed artists,
along with a handful of exciting Old Lyme debuts, to perform glorious masterworks
from every corner of the chamber music repertory.
Please also join me for pre-concert talks one hour before each of the concerts in
December and February.
I look forward to seeing you from the stage.
A Welcome from the
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme has a long tradition of support for the
arts. Offering the Meetinghouse as a “home” for Musical Masterworks is in keeping
with what the theologian Paul Tillich termed the “Theology of Culture”; believing
that God’s revelations and epiphanies come to us not only through scripture, but
also from the broad tapestry of all that comes to us through the culture around us:
music, theatre, visual arts, and more.
In his famous poem, “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” Rilke concludes with these words,
“You must change your life.” So it is with the power of music. It has the ability to
transport us to ever higher places and open the door to epiphanies in our lives.
The Meetinghouse is thought to be one of the finest small halls for chamber music
in the state of Connecticut. Part of the reason for this may be that it is the ideal size
for chamber music. Another reason may be that the domed ceiling distributes sound
evenly throughout the sanctuary. But part of the reason might lie in the unique
construction of this particular building.
The fourth Meetinghouse, also located on this site, burned to the ground on July 3,
1907. There were no architectural plans to be found for the destroyed building, so
Ernest Greene of New York City relied on the measurement of the old foundation
(49’2” x 58’6”) and a number
of photographs, as well as paintings by the artists
within Old Lyme’s Impressionist tradition. The building committee gave their
architect one new specification: the building had to be fireproof.
To fulfill this last request, Greene created an inner core of steel and concrete for the
new structure. Thus, like a great piano, the building has a rigid steel frame beneath
its beautiful wooden veneer. And therein may lie the reason for its superb sound.
The fifth Meetinghouse was dedicated in 1910 by Woodrow Wilson, whose wife was
studying at the Old Lyme Art Colony at that time.
The members and friends of The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme are proud
to offer Musical Masterworks this home for their performances, and we welcome all
The Rev. Carleen R. Gerber, Senior Associate Minister