There is very little that is simple about the fastidious observance of Baroque performance practices. The conventions change, quickly and inconsistently, with time and place.
On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Baroque Players and soprano Judith Nelson--informed specialists all--offered a fresh, neatly constructed program in opening the "Early Music at Castle Green" series in Pasadena. So assured were the performances that the impression created was one of easy elegance, and even simplicity.
It helped, no doubt, that the music was not the most complex, profound or technically difficult of the period. Still, there were appreciable challenges for the players and rewards for the audience in trio sonatas by Purcell and Francois Couperin, and a Sonata a 4 by Johann Friedrich Fasch.
The Baroque Players--Anthony Brazier, flute; Ulysses Roseman Jr., violin; Frances von Seggern Bach, gamba; Neil Roberts, harpsichord--integrated embellishment into the musical fabric with practiced aplomb. There were moments of intonation and ensemble discrepancy, caused perhaps by the low pitch used and the extreme resonance of the Castle Green ballroom.