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Monday, December 18, 2017


(Erik Dippenaar)

Christmas Celebration Concert capped a superb 2017 Concert Series. (Review by Keith Millar)

Baroque 2000’s glorious Christmas Celebration Concert, presented at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery last Sunday, capped a superb 2017 Concert Series for the ensemble, during which they celebrated 20 years of making wonderful music together.

The Baroque 2000 ensemble set new standards for themselves throughout the year with marvellous concerts featuring exciting soloists and guest artists, and playing many familiar favourites along with less well-known pieces from the vast repertoire of baroque music.

Sunday’s Christmas Celebration Concert was no different. Featuring guest artist, organist/harpsichordist Erik Dippenaar, the ensemble performed five items bursting with Christmas cheer and dynamism.

Dippenaar has appeared on several occasions before with Baroque 2000 as a harpsichordist, but this was the first occasion that he had the opportunity to show off his prowess as an organist. Playing a Roland keyboard instrument with authentic sampled organ sounds appropriate to the period, he delivered a breath-taking performance of George Frederich Handel’s Concerto for Organ Op. 4 No. 1 in G Minor HMV 289.

Cape Town based Dippenaar is an authority on Early Music having studied and performed extensively both locally and in the UK. Currently he is studying towards a PhD in music at UCT, focusing on the role historical domestic keyboard instruments played in the colonisation process in Southern Africa.

Accompanied with considerable panache by the ensemble, Dippenaar brought Handel’s beautiful, lyrical music to life and provided a highlight which delighted the large audience.

Also on the programme was Italian composer and violinist, Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello’s, Concerto for Violin in E Minor which featured the Baroque 2000 concertmaster, Ralitza Macheva, as soloist. The ever smiling and animated Macheva performed the work with considerable vitality and dash.

Completing the programme at this inspiring concert was Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings RV 121, Giuseppe Tonelli’s Christmas Concerto and Georg Telemann’s exciting and recognisable Concerto for Violin, Trumpet and Cello in D major. This last item featured Baroque 2000 director Michel Schneuwly on trumpet.

A brief encore which consisted of a nice baroque arrangement of We Wish You A Merry Christmas was the cherry on the top of this most enjoyable Christmas experience.

Baroque 2000 has secured financial backing from Die Rupert Musiekstigting and will be back for the start of their 2018 series in March next year.

For any queries or if you wish to subscribe for the 2018 season contact Michel Schneuwly on 031 312 5539, 082 303 5241 or at – Keith Millar