Old Barracks music remembers when Britain won
Old Barracks music remembers when Britain won

Donovan Klotzbeacher, Rebecca Mariman and John Burkhalter

The Old Barracks is notably tied to George Washington’s daring and tide-turning Revolutionary War attack on Trenton on Dec. 25, 1776.

Yet it is also important for its status of being the nation’s only extant and restored structure created to house British soldiers during the French and Indian Wars (1756 to 1763) — part of a major international conflict known the Seven Years War.

A pivotal moment of the war in the colonies occurred on Sept. 13, 1759.

That was the day British General James Wolfe’s army conquered French General and Commander Louis-Joseph Marquis de Montcalm’s powerful army in Quebec, Canada, and marked both the end of the war and the beginning of Britain’s golden age of global power.

Now 200 years and one-month later, the Old Barracks commemorates that British victory with the musical celebration “Loyal Song — Music of the French and Indian War,” on Saturday, Oct. 12.

The event features the Practitioners of Musick, an ensemble founded to survey the musical riches of 17th and 18th century Great Britain and Ireland and the Colonial and early Federal periods in America.

The songs celebrate the ultimate success, might, and power of the British land and naval forces, notes John Burkhalter, who cofounded the Practitioners of Musick.

The concert includes a rare presentation of the song “Britannia’s Invitation” — one that invites British soldiers “to punish once more the injustice of France.”

The rarity, says Burkhalter, is because there are only two known copies of the work. One is in the British Library and the other in the Princeton-based Burkhalter’s own private collection of 17th and 18th-century printed music. He says he obtained it from British dealer who alerts him to unusual musical publications.

The two-part “Loyal Song” program also includes the musical ode “Hail England” with its line “Bid the bold cannon roll Thunder to France”; an air from a London theatrical Seven Years War-themed entertainment “Thomas and Sally”; “Heart of Oak” featuring celebrated theater artist David Garrick’s lyrics celebrating the Royal Navy; and “The British Grenadiers” in the first half.

The second portion features seldom-heard music from the French American colonies and includes “religious music for spiritual fulfillment and secular music to satisfy the desire for social harmony and the pursuit of refinement,” says Burkhalter. Also included is a small Latin text musical work adapted into Native American by French Jesuit priests.

The Practitioners of Musick ensemble has presented programs for the National Park Service, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, National Trust of Great Britain, Colonial Williamsburg, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Yale Center for British Art, and others.

Performer Burkhalter studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston under Daniel Pinkham and studied the performance of Baroque music at Harvard University under the noted Dutch recorder virtuoso, scholar, and conductor Frans Bruggen.

He will be joined by keyboardist Donovan Klotzbeacher, composer and music director of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury; and soprano Rebecca Mariman, a Westminster-trained performer who has appeared locally with the Dryden Ensemble and Le Triomphe de l’amour as well as nationally.

Loyal Song, Old Barracks Museum, 101 Barrack St. Saturday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m. $25. www.barracks.org.