MUSICA PACIFICA

BAROQUE ENSEMBLE

Musica Pacifica  

Vivaldi

 

 

Reviews


"Musica Pacifica's latest disc -- Vivaldi: La Notte -- is a tremendous showcase for the ensemble and Judith Linsenberg, in particular. Judith is a highly gifted musician with a definite technical flair. . . The disc opens with the Concerto in G minor, La Notte, RV 104 in an excellent and highly individual interpretation. Wide-ranging dynamic contrast, creative articulation from the whole ensemble, and virtuosic passagework from the recorder are features of this disc which are instantly apparent. Ornamentation too is highly effective in its conception and execution; something which makes repeated listening to this disc both desirable and rewarding.

"The Concerto in F major, RV 100 is presented here in such a way that it makes the listener want to rush out, buy a copy of the music and learn it straight away, so compelling is the interpretation. The musical conversations between recorder, violin, and bassoon are judged to perfection. The Concerto in D major, RV 94 which follows is a tour de force of ensemble once more. . . what a fine display Elizabeth Blumenstock gives. In the Sonata in G minor, Judith Linsenberg's arrangement of RV 16, [there] is highly expressive recorder playing with creatively judged ornamentation, phrasing, and articulation.

"The remaining works on this disc . . .are again given interpretations which, I'm sure, will remain exciting and be enjoyed for many years. . . .This is an excellent CD of some familiar and some fresh repertoire recorded in a refreshingly novel and vital style. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!" -- The Recorder Magazine (UK), Spring 2004

 

CD of the Month  "For those who don't know them, Musica Pacifica are the best of the West Coast early music scene in the US. Already before, they have created a splash with their previoius CDs, and here they do it again. The best compliment I can give to these transparent, driving, and always gripping performances is that they sound so authentic, as though they were being played by a Venetian ensemble. In fact, a Venetian ensemble of Vivaldi's time.

"[Musica Pacifica exhibit] a perfect control of their instruments, listening to each other, thinking together and especially, feeling together. . . and an enormous musicality. . Their joy in making music together shines through!" -- Toccata-Alte Musik Aktuell, September/October 2003

5 points - Highest rating  "Musica Pacifica draws its members from the world-class Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. The two directors are established virtuosi: Blumenstock is among the most sought after baroque violinists in the country, with a tone consistently round and sweet, while Linsenberg plays recorder with extraordinary speed and wealth of nuance. Add in [the other performers] and you have seven musicians who could conceivably sustain solo careers if personal inclination and 21st-century marketplace economics were sufficiently realigned. . . This disc will undoubtedly enhance Musica Pacifica’s reputation. Each instrumentalist shines in exposed passages, exhibiting a rhythmic vitality and variety of shading that deepens appreciation for Vivaldi’s extraordinary melodic freshness. Marvelous playing, highly recommended." -- Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity: Music Reviews, June 2003

“The San Francisco-based period instrument ensemble's music-making has its own interpretive style; they do not skimp on detail, and their playing is consistently characterful and imaginative. There are delights throughout. The opening movement of RV100 has a graceful kind of swagger, the finale of RV94 is played as of 'on point,' with light bouncy articulation, and the chattering texture in the last movement of RV107 is so vividly realised, it almost seems a tactile pleasure. Recorder-player Judith Linsenberg gives a virtuosic performance of the early E minor sonata, RV16; the giga movement is impressive for its long-breathed, elegantly shaped phrases. And violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock makes the most of the expressive dissonances in the Largo of RV3. The ensemble's sound is exceptionally rich, and Dorian's vibrant recording puts them in the most flattering light imaginable. A thoroughly enjoyable programme." -- Gramophone, September 2003

"[This is] an attractive program of chamber works by Antonio Vivaldi. Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin, and Judith Linsenberg, recorder, lead a smart ensemble on oboe, cello, lute, and harpsichord, in performances of elegance and flair. . . These musicians are keenly attuned to Vivaldi's extraordinary rhythmic drive and the firm shape of his ritornellos. Tempi are taken to the limit at both extremes. In RV104, "La Notte," the Presto sections in the second movement, Fantasmi (Ghosts) fairly crackle with excitement. These are all engaging performances, capturing the wit, unexpected turns, warmth, and mystery that have made Vivaldi so well loved." -- Classik Reviews, Atlanta Audio Society, July 2003

* * * * - 4 stars   "The sensitive and spirited interpretation of Musica Pacifica . . . possesses undeniable charm. The American musicians bring the chosen works alive with sensitivity, vibrant colours, meticulous structuring, and bewitching tones. This natural Vivaldi is a tonic." - Goldberg Magazine, 2003

"The playing is excellent. My favourite piece on the disc is the Concerto in G minoir, RV 107, with its stunning chaconne final movement." -- Early Music Review (UK), July 2003

"This program holds considerable interest for Vivaldi lovers. . . Musica Pacifica has a well-established reputation that they live up to here. The playing is fine, the sound is excellent, and the program has a good deal of intellectual appeal. . . .and there are some really stellar recorder passages." -- American Record Guide, September/October 2003.

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