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Music Review

An Accessible Anniversary at L.A. Baroque

April 23, 2001|RICHARD S. GINELL

In 1981, when Gregory Maldonado heard his first period-instrument performance--Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D, Opus 6, No. 6--a period-instrument orchestra was a fresh, rare creature. Today, it is an institution that few dare challenge for fear of being branded musicologically incorrect.

But Maldonado wore the triumph of period instruments lightly as his L.A. Baroque Orchestra commemorated 15 seasons of existence with an anniversary concert at Zipper Hall Friday night that didn't feel at all like a gala. There were no high-roller ticket prices nor fancy banquets within sight--and when Maldonado addressed the audience, it was mostly in the form of a brief, informative Young Person's Guide to the Period-Instrument Orchestra, complete with candid confession that no, we really don't know exactly how they played music in Bach's day.

The program also made no pretensions toward gala status--a batch of seven concertos by the usual Baroque heavyweights and one oddball, a quirky, sometimes self-pitying piece by Zelenka with the self-explanatory title Hipocondria in A. The orchestra recalled its inspiration by playing the same Corelli concerto that Maldonado heard 20 years ago; there was also a matched pair of contrasting Handel concertos in B-flat and G minor that were like two sides of the same two-flatted coin.

Marianne Pfau sailed nimbly through Vivaldi's Concerto for Sopranino Recorder and Strings in C, RV 444, and the concluding J.S. Bach Orchestral Suite No. 1 was of a piece with the orchestra's other performances--brisk, not the last word in precision, yet full of strong rhythm.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 25, 2001 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
First work--A review of an L.A. Baroque Orchestra concert in Monday's Calendar misidentified the first period-instrument work ever heard by the ensemble's director, Gregory Maldonado. The correct work is Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D, Opus 6, No. 4.

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