The programming practices of Pacific Serenades, now in its fourth season, ought to provide a model for any chamber music series. First, the concerts are held in intimate, hospitable surroundings. Second, as was the case Wednesday evening at the William Andrews Clark Library, each concert places a newly commissioned work alongside examples of the standard chamber music repertory.
And that's where contemporary music belongs, anyway--not relegated to mind-numbing orgies of new music. Michael Kibbe's "Winter Moods," for flute, violin, cello and harpsichord, fit right in with the Baroque works flanking it, yet proved a highly original, distinctive statement.
That the 44-year-old composer's score should fare so well in the august company of works by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi is testament to his skill. "Winter Moods" exhibits vigorous, engaging rhythms, masterfully executed transitions within movements (all too rare these days) and a keen sense of pacing.
Flutist Mark Carlson (the artistic director of the series), violinist Roger Wilkie, cellist David Speltz and harpsichordist Owen Burdick delivered the premiere with superior control, sensitivity and drive.
The various players brought elegance and poetry to Bach's Gamba Sonata in G, and offered a confident, somewhat edgy sounding account of a Sonata in D by Vivaldi. Two Trio Sonatas from Handel's Opus 2 illustrated the ensemble's tautness and capacity for expression.