Musica Pacifica to play greatest hits — of 400 years ago


The recorder isn’t a toy, but Judith Linsenberg still enjoys being playful.

“That’s one of the fun parts,” says Linsenberg, who plays her recorder in Musica Pacifica, the San Francisco-based baroque ensemble. “We like coming up with these ideas. Little jokes. We try to make it appealing to lots of different kinds of audiences.”

Musica Pacifica, which will perform at the University of Hawaii Hilo Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, has been wowing North-American audiences for more than 20 years with its spirited approach to baroque music. The group’s recent “Dancing in the Isles” CD has continued to receive rave reviews from critics all over the world, with the online journal Musica dei Donum reporting that “the playing is first-rate: full of bounce, stylish, and technically immaculate.”

One of the stereotypical impressions of the Baroque is that it is an ancient outmoded artistic style. However, the artists of Musica Pacifica are determined to show the Baroque’s contemporary appeal.

“When you hear of baroque music, you might think of something old-fashioned and stuffy,” Linsenberg says. “If you come to the concert, you’ll have a different impression. It’s anything but stuffy.”

The music of the Europe and the British Isles in the 17th and 18th centuries is a window into the lives of the people of those times. Music and dance were then the primary forms of entertainment for the common people. Although some music was artfully and stylishly composed for and played in the courts of the wealthy, much of it was based on popular music that was performed in different styles among the general public, who mostly lived in the country.

The April 25, concert at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Center, will explore both the formal and more popular aspect of Baroque. Musica Pacifica will perform a smorgasbord of 17th- to 18th-century musical gems from Europe, followed by the toe-tapping rhythms and flavors of folk music of the same period from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Music by continental composers such as Telemann, Marais and Bach, among others is on the program. From the British Isles composers include James Oswald, William Byrd, and the ever present “Anonymous” and “Traditional.”

Each member of the ensemble is a virtuoso. Linsenberg is one of the leading exponents of the recorder in the United States. A Fulbright scholar to Austria, she was awarded the Soloist Diploma with Highest Honors from the Vienna Academy of Music. Linsenberg is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and holds a doctorate in early music from Stanford University.

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin, is soloist, concertmaster, and leader with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, the Santa Fe Pro Musica, and the Italian ensemble Il Complesso Barocco.

Harpsichordist Charles Sherman is recognized as one of the leading harpsichord soloists in the country and has been called a “fluent virtuoso” by the Los Angeles Times. In addition to performing on the viola da gamba with numerous baroque ensembles, Josh Lee has been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and Harmonia,

Tickets are $20 general, $16 for seniors 60+, and $10 for students and are available at the Most Irresistible Shop, Book Gallery, CD Wizard, the UHH Box Office, and at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

 

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