a new American baroque ensemble -
discovered by JOHN BELL YOUNG
'... vigorous, gutsy and vivacious playing ...'
Early music devotees, take note: an exemplary new American ensemble that
calls itself Sarasa may well be the most exciting thing to happen to baroque
music since the emergence of William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.
Its calling card is a handsomely packaged disc devoted to works of Vivaldi,
Bach, Handel, Purcell and Biber.
Of course, that comes as no surprise, given the impressive individual
credentials of Sarasa's musicians, at least those featured on this
album. They are without exception leading authorities on baroque performance
practice, as well as active performers with major orchestras and ensembles
around the world. It may be that what informs their extraordinary ensemble
playing, so awash in collegial geniality and near telepathic familiarity
-- wherein affective precision and nuance are wed to flexibility of
rhythm as well as spirit -- is a consequence of ties and life-long friendships
fostered decades ago in Vermont, where they lived and studied together at
the Putney School.
Throughout this recording it is abundantly clear just how pristinely
informed Sarasa's musicianship really is. In a musical genre where
a broad vibrato in its lush romantic sense (though it was used ornamentally)
has no place aesthetically, Sarasa demonstrates just how vigorous and expressive
this repertoire can be. Not given to either fetishising the music as a timid
academic exercise befitting a museum, nor content, as less informed players
so often are, to equalize every note and render it with mechanical dispatch,
Sarasa brings it to life.
Copyright © 4 December 2002
John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA