Posted Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Rare Music Manuscript by Scarlatti to be performed with Phillis Wheatley’s Poetry

A rare 17th-century music manuscript by Alessandro Scarlatti and an historic book of 18th century poetry by a female American slave, Phillis Wheatley, will be brought to life in a musical performance on Oct. 19 by Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey musicians and others.

Photo of a statue of Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley

The 1693 manuscript of Alessandro Scarlatti’s dramatic oratorio, La Giuditta”, was discovered by Jude Pfister, Morristown National Historical Park’s Chief of Cultural Resources in the archives.  Pfister shared his exciting discovery with Robert Butts, a composer and maestro of the BONJ.  Butts researched the history of the work, edited the piece, and conducted its first modern day performance. He will perform the piece with BONJ musicians and vocalists at the October 19th program. 

This unique collaboration between Morristown National Historical Park, the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, and the Morris County Tourism Bureau is planned for Saturday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. in the exquisitely restored Washington’s Headquarters Museum auditorium at Morristown National Historical Park, 30 Washington Place, Morristown. 

Alessandro Scarlatti

Alessandro Scarlatti

Butts has also set to music two poems by Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American woman to be published in America.  Brought to America from Africa on a slave ship, the Wheatley family of Boston who owned her, recognized her abilities and encouraged her education, which was remarkable opportunity for a female at the time, let alone an enslaved one. In 1773 her first book of poetry was published, “Poems of Various Subjects: Religious and Moral”. 

Wheatley’s poems as composed by Butts, “Attend My Lays, Ye Ever Honour’d Nine” and “Soon as the Sun Forsook the Eastern Main” will be sung by Timothy Maureen Cole accompanied by John Pivarnik on piano. Students from Drew University will also recite Wheatley’s poetry. 

Photo of Wheatley's publication of poems

Poems by Phillis Wheatley

Tickets for the program are available on Eventbrite.com and cost $15 per person.  Contact the Morris County Tourism Bureau at morristourism.org or call 973-631-5151 for more information. 

Morris Tourism’s popular fall walking tours and programs are graciously sponsored by Glassworks Studio, NJ Natural Gas, Normandy Partners, the Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center, the Washington Association of New Jersey, and media sponsor NJ.com. The MCTB will provide, with two weeks advanced notice, assisted listening systems. 

The Morris County Tourism Bureau is a Destination Marketing Organization that positively affects the economy of Morris County by promoting the area’s exceptional historic, cultural and recreational opportunities by providing services to residents, business travelers and tourists.