(Vanessa Tait-Jones)Baroque 2000’s 20th celebration offered an inspirational performance. (Review by Keith Millar)
A large audience attended the second concert in Durban’s illustrious Baroque 2000’s 2017 series, which took place at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery last Sunday morning.
The attraction was a programme featuring the music of three of the baroque era’s best known composers, Telemann, Bach and Handel, along with an appearance by the popular soprano, Vanessa Tait-Jones.
Baroque 2000 is celebrating 20 years of baroque music making with their 2017 series and this programme, along with their inspirational performance on the day, ensured that it certainly was a celebration for all present at the concert.
The first three items on the programme featured music from the German baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist, Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767). All three offered something a little different from the standard baroque fare.
Telemann, a mostly self-taught musician was one of the most prolific major composers of all time. His all-encompassing oeuvre comprises an astonishing number of more than 3,000 compositions.
The first item performed on Sunday was his Concerto No. 3 a quattro violini TWV 40:203, one of a set of four violin concertos that Telemann wrote for four violins without continuo. It is an exuberant work performed with gusto by the ensemble’s violinists.
Next was the “Conclusion” for oboe and trumpet -Tafelmusik II No.6. Tafelmusik was music intended to be used at banquets and feasts. As might be expected, it was often of a somewhat lighter character than music for other occasions. Maggie Deppe playing the oboe was the stand-out performer in this work.
The final Telemann composition on the programme was a solo violin piece, Fantasia for violin solo in B Minor No.9 TWV40.22. This was beautifully performed by the captivating Refiloe Olifant. One can’t help liking Olifant. She projects charm and vivacity and this is also reflected in her playing.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685-1750) contribution to the programme was his “Weichet nur, betrubte Schatten” (yield now, troubling shadows) BWV202, also known as the “Wedding Cantata”. It is thought that he may have written this for his own wedding in 1721, where his, bride Anna Magdalena, may well have sung it herself.
Celebrated soprano Vanessa Tait-Jones performed this work with skill, charm and sincerity. Maggie Deppe’s contribution on the oboe during this work was also noteworthy.
Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was a German, later British baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well-known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. His Concerto Grosso Op 6, No 3 in E Minor HMV 321 brought this very enjoyable concert to its end. This piece is one of twelve Grand Concertos Handel wrote to be played as “support acts” to his oratorios. They are amongst the finest examples in the genre of baroque concerto grosso.
There is some doubt about the date of the May Baroque 2000 concert as the ensemble will be travelling to Harare for a festival during the month. The date will be widely advertised once it is confirmed.