Musica Alta Ripa

I’ve just returned from an excellent performance by chamber music ensemble Musica Alta Ripa, featuring works from the Baroque to early Classical periods — on authentic instruments! — at St. Scholastica’s College.

The first piece played, the Overture in E minor by Johann Bernhard Bach (one of J.S. Bach’s sons), was wonderfully crisp, each movement perfectly rendered. Tonight also marked the first time I genuinely enjoyed listening to something by Pietro Locatelli — his Sonata in D for two violins and basso continuo. Vivaldi’s La Folia Sonata in D was also played, to astounding effect, especially with vintage Vivaldi basso continuo performances from Jacques van der Meer and Juris Teichmanis. Herr Teichmanis’ fingers are a blur on his violoncello: simply amazing. Danya Segal’s recorder-playing is vibrant and active, and Anne Rohrig and Ursula Bundies complemented each other perfectly with skilled violinism. Not to be ignored is Ulrich Wedemeier’s deft mastery of just about any stringed instrument you can pluck.

Missing from this performance was bassoonist Michael McCraw, who abstained from the Philippine tour “for political reasons.” Quite a loss, as his credentials are impressive, and I’m certain he would have played well.

The soloists as well as the group are well-known for their credentials with this and other chamber and early music ensembles. Very much worth trusting when looking for good baroque and early classical recordings. (Note: Unfortunately, I don’t think that MDG, the label which carries their recordings, has any of the group’s CDs available here in the Philippines. The soloists, however, have many recordings with other groups.)