The Old State House in downtown Boston is the city's oldest surviving public building: it was erected in 1713 to house the government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Bostonian Society, which was founded in 1881 to save the historic structure and operates it as a museum to this day, is launching a new summer concert series featuring music popular in colonial Boston — music that might well have been played in the Old State House.
The series begins this afternoon at 12:30 with the ensemble La Sylva — flutist Sarah Cantor, harpsichordist Andrus Madsen and viola da gamba player Angus Lansing — in Handel's Sonatas for Recorder and Continuo, Op. 1.
Next Thursday evening (July 26) at 6:30, Madsen will give a solo recital of harpsichord music from England circa 1700, with works by Henry Purcell, William Croft and Antonio Draghi. Madsen — director of Newton Baroque, the ensemble collaborating with the Bostonian Society on these concerts — will provide commentary throughout the program.
The third and final concert of the series, on Saturday, August 4 at 12:30 p.m., is a program titled "The Mighty Hoboy." That word (from the French hautbois) was an early name for the oboe, and Joyce Alper will perform Baroque sonatas for the instrument from Italy and England, accompanied at the harpsichord by Madsen.
All three of these concerts are free with admission to the Old State House, which is located at 260 Washington Street (corner of State and Congress Streets) in downtown Boston. More information is available at www.bostonhistory.org.