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<<  -- 4 --  John Bell Young    WORLD CLASS


In cellist and Sarasa founder Timothy Merton (who plays a Viennese instrument built in 1750, but avails himself of the shorter baroque bow) the ensemble has invested in a most expressive musician. Listening to him, I could only wonder what he would be like in Beethoven and Schumann. His playing brings to mind that of Anner Bylsma in several significant ways, not the least of which is his full yet dulcet sound, his uncompromised ability to illuminate detail and pay tribute to nuance, and his rhythmic flexibility. Cognizant of the peculiar demands of this repertoire, Merton never moves into playing that is inappropriately lush, thereby providing an object lesson, for early music interpretation, in the meaning of passion within the context of restraint.

Fleshing out the disc is harpsichordist Maggie Cole, who offers a superb account of Bach's Italian Concerto. Ms Cole is certainly a smart and vivacious player, rendering the delicate inegale of the slow movement with knowing finesse, and its baroque bel canto as something entirely fluid and natural.

There is currently no major American city that can boast a world class baroque and period instrument ensemble, though several play host to visiting groups from abroad. Boston, where Sarasa is based, is perhaps the sole exception, though even there the absence of sufficient government funding compromises the prestige of its period ensembles. In Europe, Paris sports Les Arts Florissants, while Amsterdam has more than one ensemble, such as those led by Koopman and Herreweghe. London too enjoys a robust early music life. But in these uncertain times, to have access to this kind of informed and impassioned music making, and a group of Sarasa's quality, would be an invaluable contribution to American musical life.

Copyright © 4 December 2002 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


A Baroque Mosaic

N/A NEW RELEASE 74' 2002 Sarasa Chamber Music Ensemble

Emily Van Evera, soprano; Richard Earle, oboe; Sarah Cantor, recorders; Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; Kinoch Earle, violin; Peggy Spencer, viola; Timothy Merton, violoncello; Maggie Cole, harpsichord

Biber: Partita No 5; Vivaldi: Concerto for sopranino recorder in C; Purcell: 'Sweeter than Roses'; Purcell: Chacony in G minor; Bach: Italian Concerto; Handel: Cantata, Il delirio amoroso HWV 99


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