“An organ like Cornell’s is so rare, it’s almost unbelievable in a place like Ithaca,” says Heather Lardin ’06, artistic director of NYS Baroque. “I would expect to have to go to Germany to hear something like this.”
NYS Baroque performs music on period instruments and is the only large period-instrument ensemble based outside a metropolitan area in the United States.
Cornell’s new baroque organ opens up a realm of possibilities for the group’s programming, says Lardin, because although they play music composed from about 1600 to 1800, “heart of NYS Baroque’s repertoire parallels that of Cornell’s organ.”
Lardin says she doesn’t know anyone who isn’t touched by baroque music. “It’s very accessible, which is odd because it’s meant to be so florid and outrageous. But for some reason people relate to it today.”
One of Lardin’s dreams is to recreate a Bach Christmas vespers service complete with choir and string orchestra, for which Cornell’s new organ would be the perfect instrument. “The music was written to be in a specific place and to be heard in a specific way. It’s so much more meaningful to experience this music in the kind of venue where it would have been originally performed than to just play it in a concert hall,” says Lardin enthusiastically.