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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Concert of flair and quality. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s Baroque 2000 showcased the genius of Antonio Vivaldi and Johan Sebastian Bach at their May concert performed at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery on Sunday.

Aptly entitled Double Concerti, the programme consisted of two works by each of the two composers, and featured two soloists apiece. This allowed four members of the ensemble, along with two guest artists, to display their virtuosity as soloists. They did not disappoint as they all, along with the rest of the ensemble, performed the exciting music with considerable élan, and produced a most enjoyable concert.

The two Vivaldi compositions on the programme were his Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor L’Esto Armonico Op.3, No.8 and his Concerto for Two Celli in G Minor RV 531.

The bright and harmonious violin concerto featured the Baroque 2000 ensemble Concertmaster, Ralitza Macheva, and ensemble member Lidia Sanacori. They showed superb musical communication during this harmonious piece and played with dynamism and spirit. It was an excellent performance.

The soloists for the cello concerto were Cecelia Di Cecco, who is a member of the ensemble, and guest player Alejandro Pradenas. Pradenas looked a little out of place on stage in his yellow T-shirt, but nonetheless he, along with Di Cecco, gave a lively and vibrant performance. This brief and graceful concerto highlights the rich warm tones of the celli.

Ralitza Macheva was joined by guest artist Nuria Cabezas Castaño for the Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C Minor by Johan Sebastian Bach. Macheva is a fantastic violinist to watch. She derives so much joy from the music she plays that it radiates from her face and is reflected in the beauty of her performance. She was perfectly complimented by the skill of Cabezas Castaño on the oboe during Bach’s rather majestic and stately sounding concerto.

The concert ended with Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor BWV 1043. On this occasion, Ralitza Macheva was joined by another ensemble member, Petya Koleva. These two combined to ensure that the concert ended the same flair and quality as was shown throughout.

It is a great pity that the Monastery Tea Gardens have closed down. Sunday was a perfect Durban autumn day and after such splendid concert, there could be few more enjoyable indulgences than to sit under the trees in the peace and tranquility of the Monastery gardens to enjoy a cup of coffee, or a milkshake, and a piece of chocolate cake.

Oh well, maybe next time. Talking of next time – The Baroque 2000 will be performing Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria at their concert on June 15. The concert will feature The Durban Girls College’s excellent choir. This is an event not to be missed. Diarize it now and book early. – Keith Millar