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Friday, August 22, 2014


Ensemble performed a selection of exquisite music with great skill and emotion. (Review by Keith Millar)

Baroque 2000 was back last Sunday, after a two month break, to prove once again that there can be few more entertaining ways for a fan of classical music to round off their week-end than by attending a concert at the charming Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill.

Guest artists at the concert were The Gut String Quartet. The quartet, which was founded earlier this year, includes very experienced and talented musicians in director and violinist Antoinette Lohmann, Ralitza Macheva (violin), Elmarie van der Vyver (viola) and Cecilia Di Cecco (cello).

The ensemble players are exponents of the Historically Informed Performance Practise (or HIPP) movement .Briefly, this movement aims to re-create music in the same style as it was originally written. To that end, they play on period instruments which are without chin and shoulder rests, their bows are recreations of the type used in the 18th century and, most importantly, the strings they use are animal gut rather than modern fibres.

The sound produced by these instruments is more gentle and delicate than that one has become accustomed to from modern instruments, and possibly some of the power and resonance is lacking. However, the sound is perfect for a chamber music performance such as this concert.

Included in the programme were string quartets composed by Joseph Martin Kraus, Luigi Boccherini and Joseph Haydn. All were from the latter part of the 18th century when this genre of music had gained respectability and was regarded in a more serious light. Prior to this, string quartets performed mostly divertimentos which was the light-hearted music performed as a background at social events.

Kraus was regarded by many as the Swedish Mozart and regarded as a man of genius by his contemporary Joseph Haydn. His music is volatile and emotional.

Luigi Boccherini wrote over 100 string quartets. His Opus 32: Quartetto 1 in e minor which was performed at this concert is a good example of the light, melodic and rhythmic charm of his work.

Joseph Haydn has been called the “father of the string Quartet”. His contribution to the concert was his Quator 4 in D Minor. It is a delightful work full of energy and vigour and a perfect testimony to one of the greatest composers of all time.

The August Baroque 2000 concert was very interesting and entertaining. The Gut String Quartet performed a selection of exquisite music with great skill and emotion.

The next Baroque 2000 concert will take place on September 21 and will feature renowned Irish violinist, Darragh Morgan. – Keith Millar