Camerata Pacifica at Wigmore Hall

By Geoffrey Norris
May 5, 2008

The solo violin also featured in Camerata Pacifica’s programme, with a Concerto for Violin and Chamber Ensemble by Ian Wilson.

Camerata Pacifica, a flexible ensemble of strings, woodwind and brass seeming to number about 15 members, is based on the west coast of America. It is encumbered by a modish, missionary slogan (“Music as the Medium of Engagement”) and seems to think it is unique, or at least different, in its professed aim to “affect positively how people experience classical music”.

But beneath the flimflam there is a very serious group of fine artists.

Both innovative and intrepid, they paired Wilson’s concerto with a 1981 Piano Quintet by the American composer John Harbison, separating them with Brahms’s solo piano Intermezzo Op 117 No 1.

It was a challenging evening, but one in which instinctive ensemble-playing was allied to judicious instrumental balance and sharp musical characterisation.