Music of the Gilded Age: Lyndhurst for the Holidays

Last week I attended a wonderful concert at Lyndhurst Mansion, which was gorgeously decorated for the holidays. (Photos below.) The concert was arranged by Christopher Brellochs, who’s creating a series of performances of music from the Gilded Age performed at Gilded Age mansions. 

Lyndhurst was built in 1838 in the Gothic Revival style. Andrew Jackson Davis designed it for Mayor of New York William Paulding; it was later the country home of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Because the mansion was in private hands until 1967, its collections of art, antiques and furniture are largely intact. That includes many pieces of furniture designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis for the mansion.  (More here.)

The 67-acre grounds, with their fantastic view of the Hudson River, are an outstanding example of 19th-century American landscape design.

The Performance

Lyndhurst is the perfect setting for Gilded Age music – music of the late 19th century. Last Tuesday’s concert included performances by Christopher Brellochs (saxophone), Kathryn Sloat (harp), and John Howell (tenor). My favorite work was an adaptation for saxophone and harp of William Fry’s Santa Claus: Christmas Symphony, which premiered in 1853. The  “Santa Symphony” was the first symphony to include the saxophone – an instrument only invented in 1840. 

There’s a short but wonderful clip of the Music of the Gilded Age concert at Lyndhurst here.  More still photos are here. The acoustics were fabulous.

Lyndhurst Decorated for the Holidays: main floor

Main entrance to Lyndhurst

Bedrooms

I’m not recommending we revive the Gothic Revival style, but as you lie in bed tonight looking at your tasteful flat white ceiling … think a few unkind words about the creators Bauhaus style. There are ways to shape and decorate ceilings that make a room sing!

Sconce in the Lyndhurst dining room

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About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, From Portraits to Puddles, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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