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Saturday, April 16, 2016


Baroque 2000 is back - and with a bang! (Review by Keith Millar)

The season opening concert, which was the first of eight planned for the year, took place last Sunday at the Marianhill Church of the Monastery. Baroque 2000 is back - and with a bang!

Featuring music from two of the superstars of the baroque era, George Frideric Handel and Antonio Vivaldi, the concert attracted a large audience who were treated to an exciting and exhilarating morning of music.

The first item on the programme was one of Handel’s “Grand Concertos”, Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 8 in C Minor HWV 326.

Handel always composed with an eye on popularity and his bank balance. Written in 1739, his concert Grossi Opus 6 tapped into the British public’s enduring enthusiasm for this type of music, which could in fact be regarded as the pop music of the time.

Concerto No. 8 has six very diverse movements which are in essence a series of dances. The music varies greatly in tempo and texture and moves from the bright and cheerful to the rather melancholic. This was an excellent start to the concert with the Baroque 2000 ensemble showing that they were in top form.

For the next two pieces on the programme the ensemble was augmented by seven additional musicians. The result was a bigger, richer and more rounded sound. 

The first item they played was Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto per molti instrumenti RV 574. Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. Some of his melodious and vibrant music, such as The Four Seasons, remain among the most popular of all classical music.

The Concerti Con Molti Strumenti is a stirring and lyrical work in three movements which is full of verve, cheerfulness and intensity.

The pièce de résistance of the concert was without doubt Händel’s remarkable Water Music.This work is for me amongst the most beautiful and unforgettable music ever written and a work of pure genius. It was composed as the entertainment for a summer boating party on the River Thames hosted by King George 1 in 1717. It is sometimes described as “a flood of melodies’. It is utterly delightful, memorably tuneful, and joyfully combines finesse and festivity in perfect measure.

The enhanced Baroque 2000 ensemble played this exquisite music with consummate skill and panache, bringing the first-rate concert to a close.

The next Baroque 2000 concert will take place on May 15 at 11h00 at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery. Tickets R140. There is plenty of free and safe parking. Enquiries to Michel on 082 303 5241, or – Keith Millar