MUSIC REVIEWS : L.A. Baroque Delivers High-Energy Handel Program

It took L.A. Baroque, as the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra seems to be calling itself these days, some time to deliver the requisite polish to match its enthusiasm Friday in the acoustically friendly confines of First Presbyterian Church, Santa Monica.

With the start of the third selection, a majestic Sonata in G for two violins and continuo, the Handel program kicked into gear, evidencing the high level of professionalism this brave little band has achieved during the eight years of its existence.

Jolianne von Einem, the Southland’s own world-class Baroque fiddler, ably seconded by L.A. Baroque founder-director Gregory Maldonado, provided elegantly sculpted lines and all the rhythmic vitality one could desire.

Subsequently, soloist Edward Murray made a virtue of necessity: the necessity of playing the familiar Concerto in G, Opus 4, No. 1, on the harpsichord when a suitable organ could not be found. His imaginatively decorated, technically unimpeachable performance made the substitution not only easily digestible but a thorough delight.


Another work familiar in a different guise, but with the choice left to the soloist by the composer, is the sublime Oboe Concerto in G minor, which on this occasion proved no less effective on the alto recorder, played with spirited virtuosity and commanding stylishness by Marianne Richert Pfau.

The full ensemble put the finishing touch to the evening--and to L.A. Baroque’s current season--with the Concerto Grosso in F, Opus 3, No. 4, which began in pompous gravity and ended in the airborne brightness of Handel’s minuet at its most fetching.