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Friday, December 28, 2018


A joyful, heady and bubbly occasion. (Review by Keith Millar)

Living up to its title of being a Champagne Christmas Concert this was certainly a joyful, heady and bubbly occasion.

With no fewer than eight items on the programme the full house audience at the Mariannhill Monastery Church last Sunday was royally entertained at this the final Baroque 2000 concert of the year.

Star of the concert was the superb tenor Sandile Mabaso. The KZN born singer who has toured and performed overseas extensively is blessed with a powerful, effortless and honey toned voice. He was on top of his game as he contributed on three occasions during the concert.

He started off with Comfort Ye, My People and Ev’ry Valley Shall be Exalted from Handle’s Messiah and then sang Henry Purcell’s aria, Three Happy Lovers from The Fairy Queen and JS Bach’s aria, Deposuit Potentes from Magnificat.

The Baroque 2000 ensemble which comprised eight musicians on this occasion and was ably led, as usual, by their charismatic concertmaster Ralitza Macheva, performed a delightful mix of festive items.

They played two pieces composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1878 – 1741). The Allegro and Ciaconna from his attractive Paris Concerto RV 114 and his bold and powerful La Fallia (literally meaning madness). A rhythmic, percussive piece which builds to a dramatic crescendo.

In music, “Folia” means a very quick-paced and tumultuous dance, in which the dancers carried men dressed as women upon their shoulders. They were literally driven mad by the noise and the stirring rhythm.

Two items from lesser known Baroque composers also added to the festive feeling of the concert. They were Marco Uccellini’s (1610 – 1680) Aria: sopra Bergamasca and Claudio Merullo’s (1533 – 1604) Ciannona.

The compositions are dances which employ a repeating four-note ground bass technique over which the violins perform a mischievous, virtuoso duel.

Both were great fun and very well received by the audience.

The main item on the programme was Arcangelo Corelli’s (1653 – 1713) famous and much loved Concerto Grosso in G Minor “Fatto per la Notte di Natale” Op.6 No. 8 (Christmas Concerto). A glorious piece to ring down the curtain on this concert, and Baroque 2000’s year of wonderful music making.

The good news is that they have already secured funding for 2019 from the Die Rupert Musiekstigting and will stage their first concert in March.

For more information about Baroque 2000 contact Michel Schneuwly (Organiser) on 031 312 5539 or 083 303 5241. Their e-mail address is – Keith Millar