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Saturday, April 4, 2015


(Lidia Sanacori (violin); Ralitza Matcheva (concertmaster) & Cecilia di Cecco (cello))

Music which was, to put it simply, superb. (Review by Keith Millar)

Lovers of Baroque music would have been delighted last weekend when the opening concert of the 2015 Baroque 2000 concert series took place at Mariannhill, Church of the Monastery.

To make the occasion even more special, the Baroque 2000 ensemble was in serious form and played with exuberance and flair, while the programme offered music which was, to put it simply, superb.

The highlight of the programme was Johann Sebastian Bach’s stirring Overture Suite in D major BWV 1068. This is probably Bach’s best-known orchestral suite, largely due to the fact that it is from the second movement of the work that the much-loved and exquisitely beautiful Air on a G String is taken.

The other movements are scored for three trumpets, two oboes and timpani along with the usual strings and harpsichord. This gives the work an exciting and entertaining quality and suggests that it was probably intended to be played outdoors.

Also of note was Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto in D major for violin, trumpet, and cello. This colourful and richly textured work featured soloists Concertmaster Ralitza Matcheva on violin, Michel Schneuwly on trumpet and on cello, Cecilia Di Cecco. Schneuwly was masterful and on the trumpet. But the stellar performance was that of Matcheva on the violin. She played exquisitely with breath-taking vitality and skill.

The other two works on the programme were Johann Joseph Fux’s Overture K 355 and George Fredric Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op 3 No 5 in D Minor.

Fux was an Austrian composer of the late baroque era. His music is simple tuneful and very pleasing. Handel is best known for his magnificent oratorio, Messiah. His orchestral works include Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks are also memorable The Concert Grosso Op 3 No 5 is a full, rich and dynamic work, and was admirably performed.

The Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill is a wonderful old building filled with a sense of antiquity and reverence. It has an excellent acoustic for classical music and it is a real pleasure to hear the beautiful sounds of the Baroque 2000 ensemble resonating around its venerated interior.

The Baroque 2000 concerts always produce excellent music played with skill, panache and grace. A must for all music lovers.

The next Baroque 2000 concert is scheduled for April 19 at 15h00. Tickets R120 available at the door. Ample safe parking is available.

For more information, contact Baroque 2000 organiser Michel Schneuwly on 031 312 5539 or 082 303 5241 or email: - Keith Millar