national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Another concert of exquisite Baroque Music. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s fabulous Baroque 2000 ensemble presented another concert of exquisite Baroque Music at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery on Sunday. (Review by Keith Millar)

The theme of the concert was composers of Venice, and compositions by Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni and Giovanni Gabrieli made up the programme.

Gabrieli had a long association with St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice for which he wrote both vocal and instrumental works. Rather than fight against the imposing acoustics of the cathedral, with its two opposing choir lofts, he developed a style of music to take advantage of the sound delay. The performers would be separated on either side of the Cathedral and would play separate parts creating an early stereophonic effect.

To recreate this effect, the Baroque 2000 ensemble positioned themselves in this manner for their performance of Gabrieli’s Canzon Duodecimi Toni. The lively acoustic of the Monastery Church played its part in blending the music. However, I am not sure that the experiment was entirely successful, with a bit of a ping pong effect being detectable.

The other items on the programme were presented in the conventional manner, and offered all the bright and melodious music one has come to expect from a Baroque 2000 concert. None more so than Vivaldi’s Concerto in Re Maggiore which also featured some superb violin playing by Concertmaster Ralitza Matcheva.

One gets the impression that this ensemble enjoys playing together and that they have a genuine passion for this genre of music. The result was an exuberant and satisfying concert. Just what was needed to warm the soul on another cold and damp day in Durban.

The next Baroque 2000 concert will be on November 25 and will serve as a farewell to regular player Refiloe Olifant.

The last concert of the year will be the Christmas Concert on December 22nd. Both these concerts will be held at 11h00 in the morning, as opposed to the usual afternoon time slot. – Keith Millar