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Thursday, June 19, 2014


Another triumph for Durban’s Baroque 2000 (Review by Keith Millar)

The concert at the Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill last Sunday was a delight. With the Baroque 2000 orchestra joining forces with the Durban Girl’s College Senior Choir in a performance of Vivaldi’s magnificent Gloria it proved to be an occasion which was both inspirational and memorable.

Antonio Vivaldi composed his Gloria in D Major early in the 1700’s while he was working at Ospedale della PietĂ  orphanage for girls in Venice (although this orphanage was more probably more of a home for the illegitimate daughters of noblemen).

Regarded as his most famous choral piece, the Gloria in D Major has all the joyous, melodic, rhythmic and sunny qualities that characterise Vivaldi’s work. It was originally composed for a girls’ choir and while performances in recent times usually include male voices, it was totally appropriate that it was sung by the Durban Girl’s College Choir.

The Baroque 2000 ensemble was enhanced for this performance with oboe, bassoon, trumpet and organ. They played, as one come to expect, with aplomb and marvellous musicality.

The Durban Girl’s College Senior Choir sang like angels and showed why they are regarded as one of the very best school choirs around. They are a credit to their school and their choir mistress, Ronel Perks, who was also the conductor for this performance.

Also featured were three soloists. Soprano’s Theresa Mbatha and Vanessa Tait Jones are young woman with lovely and pure voices. They sang their parts with beauty and skill.

Possibly the biggest surprise of the performance was the contralto, Samantha Ash. She is a grade 11 pupil at the school and is a petite young girl. However, her voice in contrast to her age and size is strong, rich and mature. She is something special and one hopes that her talent is nurtured for the future.

Also on the programme at Sunday’s concert were three short compositions which added a nice touch of variety to the proceedings.

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No 11 by Francescco Mafedini is a bright and cheerful work, while by contrast Biagio Marini’s Passacaglia a 3 e 4 is melancholic and dirge like. The third work was Concert Grosso No 12 “La Follia” by Francesco Geminiani. It is a dramatic and intense work which allowed violinist Ralitza Matcheva and cellist Ralitsa Pechoux opportunities to show their virtuosity.

This concert was another triumph for Durban’s Baroque 2000 who continue to provide quality entertainment at the Mariannhill Monastery Church on a regular basis.

There will be no concert in July as the members will be busy with commitments to the KZN Philharmonic. The date for the August concert will be made known soon. – Keith Millar