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Wednesday, June 7, 2017


(Ralitza Matcheva & Cecilia di Cecco)

Splendid performance of William Boyce work by the three string players of the ensemble. (Review by Michael Green)

Music from the 17th and 18th centuries made up the programme for the Baroque 2000 Ensemble in a concert presented for the Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Centre.

This ensemble is a group of four skilled and experienced players: Ralitza Matcheva (violin), Refiloe Olifant (violin), Cecilia di Cecco (cello) and Erik Dippenaar (harpsichord). Ralitza was born in Bulgaria and Cecilia in Italy, and all four are based in South Africa.

Baroque music is by definition a historically circumscribed area, and its appeal may be somewhat limited, but it includes much attractive music, as was shown in this concert.

Eight composers were represented but only two of them, are really well known: Antonio Vivaldi, whose fame rests on The Four Seasons; and Domenico Scarlatti, the master of the keyboard.

A fairly familiar name on the programme was William Boyce (1711-1779), a prolific English composer represented here by a Trio sonata in C major. Melodically and harmonically in advance of its time, this was given a splendid performance by the three string players of the ensemble.

Three of the pieces on the programme were versions of an old Scottish tune, The Bush Aboon Traquair, which refers to a grove of trees at an old house named Traquair, in Scotland. This was so famous in its day that it attracted the attention of two 18th century Italian composers, Francesco Barsanti and Francesco Geminiani, with the delightful results heard in this programme.

Two works by Vivaldi - a Trio sonata and his version of the traditional Iberian folk melody Folia - were much appreciated by the audience. And Erik Dippenaar contributed solo harpsichord virtuosity in one of Scarlatti’s 550 sonatas.

The prelude performers of the evening, supported by the National Lotteries Commission, were two young trumpeters. David Ward, aged 11, a pupil at Chelsea Preparatory School, showed promise for one so young, and Brendan O’Loughlin, aged 14, from Thomas More College, showed more mature skills. Both are students with KZNPO trumpeter Cathy Peacock, who accompanied them at the piano. - Michael Green