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Music Review

Musica Pacifica Samples Baroque Era's Virtues

January 12, 1999|JOHN HENKEN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Lively virtuosity and intelligent variety headed the attractions of the Baroque sampler presented Sunday by Musica Pacifica at Sunny Hills High School for the Fullerton Friends of Music.

The period instrument ensemble gathered about a century and a half of music with a Venetian connection from composers ranging from Tomaso Albinoni to Pietro Ziani and delivered it with stylish panache to a standing-room-only crowd.

Delectable chamber concertos by Vivaldi, in G minor and D major, framed the program and provided the only work for the full group: Judith Linsenberg, recorders; Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe; Elisabeth Le Guin, cello; and Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord. Their interaction had a wonderful feeling of vivacious spontaneity, belied by stunning precision of execution, intonation lapses aside.

The athletically running bass of the opening Vivaldi was Le Guin's principal moment of individual glory, but the others all had solo and duet opportunities. Ruiz had some early trouble with a dramatic C-minor Sonata by Giovanni Platti, but otherwise ran through its difficulties bravely and eloquently. He partnered Linsenberg in movements from a Sonata by Ziani, with Blumenstock supplying some unsteady percussion on the body of her fiddle.

A florid Sonata by Dario Castello displayed Linsenberg's command of expressively phrased articulation on alto recorder. With a soprano instrument she joined Blumenstock in a set of variations over the "Bergamasca" bass by Marco Uccellini and in a sparkling Sonata by Giovanni Legrenzi. Blumenstock had movements from a Sonata by Veracini to showcase her energetically elegant musicality, and she combined with Ruiz in an intense Sonata by Albinoni.

Le Guin and Dupree accompanied all with authoritative flair, and Dupree played a flamboyant solo Toccata by Giovanni Picchi with bravura gusto. All five Pacificans contributed informal, informative spoken remarks on the music at hand.

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