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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BAROQUE 2000: OCTOBER 25, 2015

(Joanna Maria Frankel)

A wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable and informative experience. (Review by Keith Millar)

Not even the combined attraction of one of the greatest baroque composers, Antonio Vivaldi, and the exciting talent of violinist Joanna Maria Frankel could draw much of an audience to the Baroque 2000 concert at the Marianhill Monastery Church on Sunday afternoon.

It was a typical Durban early summer day. All balmy and sunny - and one would imagine that most of the city’s residents were at the beach, or relaxing around their swimming pools. Not forgetting those who were enticed by the sporting attractions on television.

This is a great a pity because the combination of Vivaldi and Frankel worked, and the result was sensational experience which gave those present something to savour and to cherish for some time to come.

Playing Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major RV 212, Frankel, who is the Concertmaster for the KZNPO, gave an astounding, virtuoso performance of skill, passion and subtlety of this very technically demanding work. Her 1846 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Violin has a beautifully warm and rich tone and this resonated with vibrancy and energy through the acoustically sympathetic venue.

The supportive role of the Baroque 2000 ensemble during this exciting and adventurous work must not be forgotten. They provided a wonderfully modulated and vibrant backing for Frankel to display her substantial skills.

The second Vivaldi work on the programme was his Concerto in G minor RV 157, in three movements. While the performance of this work suffered for having to follow Frankel’s superb performance it nonetheless showed all the exuberance, and flamboyance on expects from a Vivaldi concerto.

The programme was rounded off by an additional two short works. Firstly we heard the Suite in E Minor by Fortunanto Chelleri and this was followed by Concerto Grosso Op 3 No 4 by Pietro Castrucci. Both of these works are melodic and cheerful and were played with enthusiasm and energy by the Baroque 2000 ensemble.

The concert was rather short – running for just over 50 minutes – but was filled with exquisite baroque gems which made it more than worthwhile to abandon the beach, swimming pool or TV to attend.

Part of the fascination and appeal of Baroque music is the immense body of work to choose from. Vivaldi alone is credited with around 1000 compositions and Telemann even more. As a result there is always something different or lesser known, to listen to and enjoy. Sunday’s concert was a case in point and it proved to be a wonderfully entertaining, enjoyable and informative experience.

The final two Baroque 2000 concerts for the year will be on November 22, and December 29. Both will take place at the Marianhill Monastery Church at 11h00. Tickets at the door  and there is plenty of free parking. More information from Michel on 082 303 5241 or email: . Baroque 2000 is sponsored by Die Rupert Musiekstigting. – Keith Millar.