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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

Camerata Pacifica's Second Baroque Series


Steven Lieberman

At Zipper Hall, Camerata Pacifica presented their second Baroque Series concert curated by 18th century master baroque and Avery Fisher Career Grant flautist Emi Ferguson titled "The French Dispatch."

Joining her were some of the country's leading Baroque experts playing period instruments: Rachel Ellen Wong (violin), the first violinist to receive a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant; Doug Balliet (viola da gamba), a professor of Baroque bass at The Juilliard School; Michael Sponseller (harpsichord); Stephen Stubbs (guitar), a Grammy-winner; and Karim Sulayman (tenor vocals), acclaimed Grammy-winning Lebanese American tenor.

The repertoire for the concert included: Rameau - Pieces de Clavecin en Concert, Third Suite in A Major; Mde. Guedon De Presley - Tenders Amants, Vole Amour, Belle Catin, and Je recontray l'autre jour; Clerambault - Pirame et Tisbe; and Telemann - Paris Quartet No. 12 in E Minor, TWV 43:e4. It was an exploration of French Baroque repertoire both rarely heard and also familiar of 17th and 18th century French vocal and instrumental works.

What made this performance special and unique was when Ferguson would read about the history of each piece through the viewpoint of music writers of the era that the compositions were written and debuted. This is rarely done and just shows how she likes to stretch the boundaries of performing.

The musicians creatively delivered each piece to the delight of the audience members. Especially the chemistry between Sponseller on the harpsichord and his fellow musicians during the Rameau composition.

Camerata Pacifica

Another bright spot on the program was the transcendently beautiful voice of Sulayman as he sang Clerambault's awe-inspiring cantata Pirame et Tisbe. Sulaymen also delighted the audience with his interpretation of Mde. Guedon De Presley's compositions, who was a French composer, singer, and actress, who in the early 18th century became the first known French woman to publish a collection of arias.

Camerata Pacifica usually premieres more contemporary compositions in their concerts so this new Baroque Series is a breath of fresh air not only for the musicians but also the audience.

Every piece they played took the audience on a magical journey.

The stage lighting was also a special key variable in the presentation of the music.

At the end of the program, there was a feeling of delight and appreciation that Camerata Pacifica made the wise decision to create their Baroque Series.


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