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Friday, April 4, 2014


Baroque is back! (Review by Keith Millar)

After securing funding for the 2014 concert series from the Rupert Musiekstigting, Durban’s renowned Baroque 2000 presented the first of eight concerts for the year at the Mariannhill Monastery last Sunday morning.

Being in celebratory mood, the ensemble included in their programme flamboyant works which featured trumpets, oboes and bassoon. This certainly added an exciting extra dimension to the superb music.

The concert started with Battalia a 9 which is a composition by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Described as battle music, this brief and lively work includes descriptive effects such as foot-stomping to evoke the sounds of soldiers at war. An interesting and entertaining piece.

Next was George Frideric Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op 3 No. 4 in F Major. This work was scored for two oboes and bassoon along with the usual strings and harpsichord. It is a bright and pleasing work which, for me, was unmistakably a Handel composition.

The third item on the programme was Suite No. 1 in A Minor by George Philipp Telemann. Telemann is an interesting character in that he was an almost completely self-taught musician and is regarded as one of the most prolific composers of all time. He stayed in the forefront of all new musical tendencies and his music was an important link between the Baroque and early classical styles.

Completing the morning’s entertainment was Johan Joseph Fux’s wonderful Serenade a 8 in C Major. This is a grand and ceremonial sounding work which was highlighted by some excellent trumpet playing by Michel Schneuwly and Jonas Brolin. The entire ensemble seemed to put their hearts and souls into this work and it was an resounding and brilliant performance. One can only marvel at the skills level of this group of musicians.

The historical Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill is a visual and acoustical gem. There can be few places more suited to experience wonderful baroque music exquisitely played. These are concerts not to be missed.

The next concert is scheduled for May 4 at 11h00. Tickets R12 at the door. More information from Michel on 082 303 5241 or email: - Keith Millar