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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


(Lauren Dasappa)
 A mixed bag of  a year of superb music. (Review by Keith Millar)

Baroque 2000 produced a mixed bag of Christmas treats in the final concert of their 2013 series, which took place at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery last Sunday.

The highlight of this classical Christmas concert was soprano Lauren Dasappa who sang excerpts from Handel’s Messiah. Dasappa has a lovely spiritual voice, with a rich tone and considerable power. She delivered an impressive performance of Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, He shall feed his flock like a shepherd and I know that my Redeemer liveth.

The concert started with two short works by Antonio Vivaldi. The Pastorale from il Pastor Fido is a calm and graceful work which got the concert underway in a most agreeable manner.

This was followed by La Tempesta del Mare (The Sea Storm). This work is from the same set of 12 violin concerti which spawned Vivaldi’s best known work, The Four Seasons. It is a bright and exciting work and produces all the drama suggested by its title. The violinists showed considerable finger dexterity while performing this work.

The concert was rounded off by a pair of fine Christmas concerti by two of the finest exponents of baroque music. First, we heard Giuseppe Torelli’s In forma di Pastorale per il Santissimo Natale and the final Christmas treat on the programme was Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto No. 8 in G minor, Fatto per la Notte di Natale.

Both these works feature a Pastorale where the strings replicate the traditional sounds of shepherds playing a lilting tune on their pipes, in church, on Christmas Eve.

As one has come to expect, the Baroque 2000 ensemble performed with skill and flair during this concert. They are all accomplished musicians and never fail to delight with the quality of their performance.

Of special note was the exceptional playing of Eric Dippenaar on the harpsichord. This man is a special talent and his leadership adds an extra dimension to the music.

As an encore, the ensemble played a cheerful arrangement of We Wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year. It served as a fitting end to this concert and a year of superb music by Baroque 2000.

These concerts, held at the historical Mariannhill Monastery, are really very special events. There can be few better ways of spending some time on a Sunday than listening to some sublime music, wonderfully performed at this serene location.

For any queries or suggestions, and news of the 2014 Concert Series, contact the Baroque 2000 organiser, Michel Schneuwly on 031 5539 / 082 3035241 or e-mail at – Keith Millar