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Saturday, December 6, 2014


(Nuria Cabezas Castaño, Petya Koleva, Roberto Palma, & Lidia Sanacori)

Ensemble’s performances always of the highest calibre and never fail to inspire and thrill their audiences. (Review by Keith Millar)

It was wonderful to see baroque music fans turning up in large numbers last Sunday for the November Baroque 2000 concert at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery. More so, since the weather was rather inclement and that is usually enough to keep Durban audiences at home.

This support is, of course, no more than is deserved by the talented and dedicated musicians of the Baroque 2000 ensemble. They work hard to introduce audiences to the wonderful music from the Baroque period which, while perhaps less well-known, are all the same exciting and stimulating. The ensemble’s performances are always of the highest calibre and they never fail to inspire and thrill their audiences.

Sunday’s concert was no different, offering a programme of lesser known gems which were played with skill and aplomb.

Two works by the ever-popular Antonio Vivaldi were probably the major attractions at this concert. Vivaldi who is best known for his Four Seasons violin concertos was s a prolific composer of the baroque period. He is credited with over 550 compositions and was a major influence on the music of this era.

The first of his works performed at this concert was the Concerto for 4 Violins RV 549 in D major. This work was almost not played as the third violinist was too ill to perform. However, viola player David Snaith stepped into the breach and performance went ahead. The other soloists were concert master Ralitza Matcheva, Petya Koleva and Roberrto Palma.

This concerto is an exhilarating and spirited work which brought out the best from the four violinists. David Snaith did an outstanding job in his role as a stand-in. He then, very modestly, refused to step forward at the end to receive the applause which was justifiably his.

The second Vivaldi composition on the programme was his Concerto for two violins and cello in D minor, RV 565. The soloists were Ralitza Matcheva and Petya Koleva on violin and Cecilia Di Cecco on cello. This work was again brilliantly performed the gifted musicians.

Also included in the programme were Symphony No. 2 in D major by Alessandro Scarlatti, Pensiere Adriarmonici – Concerto 1 by Giacomo Facco and Concerto for D minor for Oboe by Alessandro Marcello. The latter work featured Nuria Cabezas Castaño in a virtuoso performance on the oboe. It is a difficult piece to play but her performance was rousing and faultless. Certainly it was a highlight of the concert.

The Baroque 2000 concerts which take place monthly at the attractive Mariannhill Church of the Monastery, just outside Pinetown, remain one of the highlights of Durban’s classical music calendar. They are well worth attending but get there early, as they are becoming increasingly popular.

The Christmas concert – and final one for the year – will take place on December 14 at 15h00. Tickets at the door are R120. There is ample free and safe parking in the Monastery grounds.

Enquiries to or on 082 303 5241. – Keith Millar