national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


(Baroque 200 members Sorin Osorhean (horn), Lubo Minkov (bassoon), Neil Smit (horn) Simon Milliken (double bass) & Michel Schneuwly (trumpet). Photo by Val Adamson)

An enchanting performance of considerable skill and splendour. (Review by Keith Millar)

Baroque 2000’s 2018 Concert Series got off to a smashing start at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery last Sunday morning, with an outstanding programme of inspiring music.

Bookended by Handel’s superb Water Music the programme also included Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 1 and Johan Joseph Fux’s Turcaria Sinfonia a 3 in C major, possibly the first time ever this delightful piece has been heard in this part of the world.

The Baroque 2000 Ensemble was enhanced by the addition of three oboes, three horns, a bassoon, and, in the final work, two trumpets.

Led with a great deal of charm and panache by Concertmaster Ralitza Macheva, the ensemble delivered an enchanting performance of considerable skill and splendour.

Made up mainly from members of the KZNPO, the Baroque 2000 orchestra is a seriously good combination and makes an important contribution to Durban’s vibrant classical music scene.

George Frederic Handel’s (1685 - 1789) Water Music is considered to be among the composer’s most popular instrumental works. He composed the music for a royal excursion by King George l and his guests on the river Thames in 1717.

The concert kicked off with the Suite No.1 in F major and ended with the Suite No.2 in D major. Both are colourful, celebratory and ceremonial pieces with rich, warm tones from the oboes, horns, bassoon and, in the case of D Major Suite, the trumpets. The interaction between the horns and trumpets is particularly exciting in this piece.

The Baroque era offers a vast repertoire of music. It is the stated aim of Baroque 2000 to explore this repertoire and unearth lesser-known works which are worthy of a performance. The Sinfonia a 3 in C Major “Turcaria”, K 331 by Johann Joseph Fux (1660 – 1741), an Austrian composer and music theorist, is one of these works – and in this case, they have unearthed a gem.

Performed by four violins, cello, bass and harpsichord it is a, cheerful; optimistic and melodic work which was greatly enjoyed by the audience. It may be the first time this piece has been heard in Durban, but one can only hope it is not the last.

Completing the programme was Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685 – 1750) Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BMV 1046. The Brandenburg Concertos are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721. They are widely regarded as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The Concerto No.1 is a glorious and complex work and was performed with aplomb by the ensemble.

Baroque 2000 Season Opener was an exhilarating and memorable concert and bodes well for what is to come for the rest of the year.

The next Baroque 2000 concert will take place at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery on April 8, 2018, at 15h00.

For more information and bookings contact Michel Schneuwly on 031 312 5539 or 0823035241 or email: – Keith Millar