On Tuesday evening, November 7, 2006, I watched as Musica Antiqua Köln took the stage for one of their final concerts in Los Angeles at the Walt Disney Hall. I questioned, however, what made this "MAK" versus, just some friends who had played together before? For their leader, Reinhard Goebel was absent due to health reasons. I am not sure if this had to do with his recent hand injury reoccuring or something else. I wish him well. They played Zelenka's ZWV 164, a chamber motet that I enjoyed quite much, it had Zelenka's bubbly, unique style, and combined his favorite winds: oboes and bassoon. A Heinichen Overture was also played. It was less familiar. Less familiar means I never heard it before, much like the Zelenka. I didn't find it very memorable. Why would an ensemble of this nature play an unknown work all the way into their last performance? It's their nature, I suspect, exploring new works and unearthing what Goebel feels are treasures. The pre-intermission selections were familiar, all from previous MAK recordings, including selections by Heinrich Bach and Johann Christoph Bach (Bachiana, Alt-Bach Archiv), the Septet by Telemann, and Bach's cantata, BWV 54 "Widerstehe doch der Sünde." The vocalist for this concert was Marijana Mijanovic. I didn't care for her singing one bit. Enough said there. The acoustic of the large Disney hall didn't help the ensemble. The strongest contribution came from the bass played by Ulrich Wolff. The nature of the music and the size of the ensemble demanded us all to be close, in an intimate space, and I think the rewards would have been higher. Listening to musicians through records, as rewarding as it is, is different than listening to musicians live. There's a visual element. There's the imperfections in a live performance. There's a connection between you and the musicians, as the audience. There's more, of course, but one thing is mood and your state of mind, when you're the performing musician. I could hear this concert four times, perhaps, and it would offer us differences each time... some better than others, some more exciting, or more challenging. MAK has been my favorite ensemble of baroque music for as long as I had discovered them. I recall finding early MAK records at college in Rochester, NY. I remember still getting my Heinichen Concertos CD at Borders Books and Music in Rochester. I can see their Brandenburg set in my friend Todd's library. Their Telemann recording of flute quartets sits down below in my car. This ensemble, their style, and their repertoire have been a part of my life since high school. I look forward to hearing their soloists and stars continue. Anton Steck. Manfred(o) Kraemer. Stephan Schardt. Florian Deuter. Léon Berben. Andreas Staier. I once wrote Goebel a letter. I wasn't sure he'd understand my English. I was still in high school. I never sent it, although I had eventually found a mailing address for the ensemble. I am not sure what I wrote in the letter, but it was honest fan mail. Not only will his influence continue to nuture fellow musicians of Baroque music, but his recordings will continue to keep our toes tapping inside our shoes. His violin style always sounded honest, the tone thick and rich, yet agile and somehow just "right." Thanks, Herr Goebel, for the experience good music.