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Friday, July 3, 2015


Bronwyn Forbay provided the cherry on the top. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s Baroque 2000 ensemble was in form for the fourth concert of their 2015 concert series at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery which took place on the last Sunday in June. It was a warm sunny winter afternoon and the music was also warm and sunny and proved to be an ideal way of rounding off the week-end.

The undoubted star of the occasion was featured soprano Bronwyn Forbay who sang Johan Sebastian Bach’s Cantata BWV 209, Non sa che sia dolore (He knows not what sorrow is).

Bronwyn Forbay was Durban’s sweetheart when she was a young singer with a fledging career. Her performance of the Cantata, and the audience’s reaction to her, proved that despite the fact that she is now based in the USA and has a flourishing international career, she remains Durban’s sweetheart. Both for her gracious and engaging personality, and for her extraordinary voice.

Johan Sebastian Bach is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His Cantata BWV 209 is one of well over 200 that he composed. Other than solo soprano voice it also features virtuoso flute in three of the five movements.

Bronwyn Forbay has an enchanting voice. She gave a beautifully nuanced and refined performance. The slightly built singer commanded the stage and filled the church with the power of her voice.

Flautist Evelien Ballantine also provided a fine performance in what was a very enjoyable musical happening.

One of the special aspects of the Baroque 2000 concerts is that as there is such a huge body of music to select from, one is inevitably going to be exposed to something new to them. This was my experience with the first item on the programme. The delightful Overture La Lyra by German baroque composer Georg Phillip Telemann is a splendidly melodic and cheerful work. It is noteworthy for the imitation of a hurdy-gurdy in the La Veille movement. It was a thoroughly enjoyable work which I hope to hear again soon.

Completing the programme was Georg Frederick Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 12. The rich, sumptuous sounds of this work, which have an unmistakable Handel flavour, brought this excellent concert to a satisfying conclusion.

Baroque 2000 once again provided entertainment out of the top drawer, with the cherry on the top on this occasion, being Bronwyn Forbay.

There will be a three month break before the next Baroque 2000 concert which will take place at 15h00 on the September 27 at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery. – Keith Millar