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Monday, October 7, 2019


As one has become to expect, the tight-knit and very accomplished Baroque 2000 ensemble put in a performance to be remembered. (Review by Keith Millar)

After a hiatus of a few months, Baroque 2000 returned to the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery in Pinetown last week with a concert which had a decidedly Spanish flavour.

Entitled Baroque and Flamenco, the innovative concert included excellent contributions by the accomplished Spanish guitar wizard Demi Fernandes and Linda Vargas with her sensuous and passionate flamenco dance. She also provided amazing and complex rhythms with the castanets.

The concert repertoire included two works by the maestro Antonio Vivaldi. This prolific composer who was responsible for 46 operas, over 500 concertos, 90 solo sonatas and dozens of choral works was undoubtedly one of the greats of the baroque era. His cheerful and melodic Concerto for Strings in B Minor, a short work which was first up on the programme is an apt demonstration of the richness of his music.

The other Vivaldi work on the programme was La Follia RV 63. La Follia is actually the name of a folk tune traced back to 15th-century Portugal. Literally meaning “folly” or “madness,” the tune was used for rambunctious country dancing. But it was eventually noticed by composers who began to play with it, eventually forming a playful tradition of writing variations on the original tune.

German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests. He has published most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, Egyptology and medicine along with his music. Included in this concert was his Modo Hypodorico, a collection of beautiful airs seldom presented in concert.

Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli was one of the finest masters of the baroque period and his influence in the development of the violin repertoire is still felt today. His complex Concerto Grosso in D major Op 6 No 1 was played with skill and panache by the Baroque 2000 ensemble. This piece is the first of a suite of 12 concerti which contains some of the finest examples of baroque music.

Completing the programme was the First Guitar Quintet in D major (Fandango) by Luigi Boccherini. Boccherini composed several Guitar Quintets including this one with its brilliant closing movement - Fandango - a folk dance that originated in Spain. This piece allowed Demi Fernandes on the guitar and Linda Vargas with her castanets and dance to display their excellent talents.

As one has become to expect, the tight-knit and very accomplished Baroque 2000 ensemble put in a performance to be remembered. The Baroque 2000 concert series are without doubt one of the highlights of Durban’s classical music offering.

The next Baroque 2000 concert will take place on November 3, 2019, and - harking back to the month of October - will be entitled Baroque and Beer ”Oktoberfest”.

For more information or any queries contact Michel Schneuwly on 031 312 5539 or 082 303 5241 or at – Keith Millar