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Baroque Orchestra Offers Bach 'Portrait'

May 13, 1997|DANIEL CARIAGA

The whole world loves J.S. Bach's six "Brandenburg" Concertos; three of them stylishly lit up the closing program of the Los Angeles Baroque orchestra season Sunday in the Gold Room at the Biltmore Hotel.

Yet, as expertly as founder-leader Gregory Maldonado and 13 of his colleagues played the Concertos Nos. 6, 5 and 3 (in that order), what made the afternoon's agenda truly engrossing were the two works that framed this "Bach Family Portrait." They were an Ouverture in G minor by J.S. Bach's second cousin, Johann Bernhard Bach, and C.P.E. Bach's A-minor Concerto for flute and strings.

The G-minor Ouverture is a handsome if conventional suite containing much charming music. It was here played with great enthusiasm and with tight balances between the exposed parts.

The A-minor flute concerto grabs the listener's fascination at every change of direction, its quirky harmonic flights, caressing melodies and emotional, hairpin turns holding the interest steadily. Soloist Kim Pineda both made it sing and flew clearly through its virtuosic passages. A wonderful work beautifully delineated.

Great ease and consistent transparency made Maldonado's overview of the three "Brandenburg" works engaging. The violinist's co-soloists in No. 5, flutist Pineda and harpsichordist Edward Murray, joined him in emphasizing the musical flow of the work, not its challenges; this was a no-sweat run-through. The results, as in the ensemble's joyous traversals of Nos. 3 and 6, happily reiterated familiar pleasures.

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