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Monday, November 28, 2016


(Odeion Vocal Consort)

Beautifully balanced and tight group deliver the music with skill and splendour. (Review by Keith Millar)

In their second last concert for 2016 Durban’s first-rate Baroque 2000 ensemble offered a most enjoyable and varied programme at the Church of the Monastery, Marianhill, on Sunday.

The highlights of the programme were three sacred choral works, chosen to celebrate Advent Sunday, by Johann Sebastian Bach, Hans Leo Hassler and Giacomo Antonio Perti. This was interspersed with beautiful instrumental music from two masters of the baroque era, George Fredric Handel and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Providing the singing was the splendid Odeion Vocal Consort from the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. This is their third collaboration with Baroque 2000 and they have become firm favourites with Durban audiences. Comprising Lance Philipp (director of music/conductor/tenor), Linda Marais (soprano), Ilané Van Wyk (Alto) and Werner Stander (bass), they are a beautifully balanced and tight group who deliver the music with skill and splendour. Travelling with the Consort was organist Lourie Coetzee who also played the harpsichord for the concert in the absence of Baroque 2000 regular, Dr David Smith, who is away overseas.

Bach’s Advent Cantata, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV61, is one of nearly 200 surviving sacred cantatas by the composer. It is a delightfully textured and emotional work which is full of colour and drama.

Dixit Maria ad angelum by Hans Leo Hassler was sung A Capella by the consort standing at the rear of the church. It was a harmonically breathtaking performance which highlighted the Mariannhill Church’s superb acoustic properties. 

The final choral work on the programme was the Magnificat #13 in D major by Giacomo Antonio Perti. Petri was an Italian born composer who was highly regarded for his scared music as well as his operas. The Magnificat is a short work but is very pleasantly lyrical.

I was a little surprised at the decision to place the Odeion Vocal Consort behind the musicians on the stage. For me, the balance between singers and instruments was slightly off throughout the concert. I also struggled to hear the harpsichord. However, this is nitpicking in what was a superb performance by both singers and the Baroque 2000 ensemble. Maybe it is just the onset of a bit of old age deafness on my side!

The first instrumental work on the programme was George Frideric Handel’s rich and full Concerto Grosso Op 6 No.1. It is a lively work of much variety and provided an excellent start to the concert. Handel wrote this set of concertos in one month – highlighting his sheer genius as a composer.

German composer Georg Philipp Telemann was one of the most prolific composers of all time, His Overture Suite TWV 55: D6 in D Major for viola da gamba is a work in 8 movements which offers a pleasing variety of music styles. The performance was highlighted by some excellent virtuoso work on the cello by Aristide Du Plessis.

Baroque 2000 organiser Michel Schneuwly shared some exciting news with the audience at the concert. Generous funding has already been secured from Die Rupert Musiekstigting for the 2017 Concert Series. This guarantees Baroque 2000’s survival for at least another year.  Since it will be the 20th year since the founding of the ensemble there will be a few special surprises in store for audiences.

The final Baroque 2000 concert for this year will take place on December 18 at 11h30 at the Church of the Monastery Mariannhill.

For more information, contact Michel at 031 312 5539, 082 303 5241 or at

Baroque 2000 is funded by Dis Rupert Musiekstigting. – Keith Millar