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Sunday, December 22, 2019


An exhilarating selection of music from JS Bach, Vivaldi, Jeremiah Clarke and Corelli. (Review by Keith Millar)

The eighth and final Baroque 2000 concert for 2019 took place at the Mariannhill Church of the Monastery on Sunday. Entitled Celebrating Christmas it featured an exhilarating selection of music from JS Bach, Vivaldi, Jeremiah Clarke and Corelli.

The concert attracted a good audience despite the threat of heavy rain which never eventuated. Just as well, as rain on the tin roof of the church can be rather noisy.

Featured soloist was mezzo-soprano from Cape Town, Monika Voysey. She sang two arias from Johan Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio BWV248, Bereite dich Zion and Schlafe mein Liebster. Written in 1734, J S Bach's popular Christmas work is one of the choral masterpieces of the Baroque era. But he cleverly used music from secular works he had already composed, adapting it for the new purpose.

Monika Voysey has a compelling voice with a richness of tone that paid suitable homage to the music of great composer.

Back with Baroque 2000 for this performance was Dr David Smith who played the baroque organ for the Bach works as well as the harpsichord for the others.

Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for four Violins in B Minor RV580 is the tenth work in his first set of concertos called ”L’estro Armónico” which roughly means “The Genius of Harmony”. This set was regarded as one of the most important work in all European orchestra music as it added lightness, musicality and virtuosity to this genre of music.

The very popular Suite in D major by Jeremiah Clarke was also on the programme. The best known movement is the Rondeau – The Prince of Denmark’s March which is often used as a wedding march, including the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

This work delivered some very good trumpet playing by Michel Schneuwly.

The final work on the programme was Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso “Fatto per la Notte di Natale” Op 6 No.8. The sub-title of the work is “Christmas Concerto” and was written to be performed on Christmas Eve. The concerto became particularly popular during Corelli’s lifetime and was even played at his funeral.

Once again the ensemble did justice to this joyful work.

The curtain was rung down on this concert, and a year of superb music making, with a baroque version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas to which Monika Voysey added her sublime voice.

Funding by the Rupert Foundation has been confirmed for the year 2020 so baroque music lovers can look forward to another series of eight concerts. The first of which will take place in March, 2020.

For more information contact Michel Schneuwly, the Director/Organiser of Baroque 2000 at or on 082 303 5241.