national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, December 6, 2021


(Maggie Deppe & Ralitza Macheva)

Maggie Deppe performed this work with expertise and poise. Along with the Baroque 2000 ensemble she was on the top of her game, and they put in a fabulous performance with this work. (Review by Keith Millar)

I am inclined to bang on a bit to anyone who will listen about how lucky we are in Durban to have the superb baroque ensemble such as Baroque 2000 which presents regular our city.

One would expect their usual venue, the Monastery Church at Mariannhill, to be filled to the rafters with people appreciating the wonderful baroque music played with skill and dynamism by this ensemble of highly talented musicians.

Not the disappointing numbers that attended today’s concert. Come on people - you don’t know what you are missing. Let’s support this musical gem.

After the delights of the last concert when we were treated to all the spice and Latin rhythms of a programme entitled Salsa Baroque it was back to the more traditional at today’s event.

However, when you see the names Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach all on one programme you know you are in for something special.

The programme started with the Overture to George Frederic Handel’s Opera Rinaldo. Composed in 1711, the opera is a story of love, war and redemption and was set at the time of the first Crusade. It was the first Italian language opera he wrote for the English stage, and it proved as popular then as it is today.

There were two works by Antonio Vivaldi on the programme. The first was his Concerto for Oboe in C major RV447. Vivaldi was a fiery character with flaming red hair and was known as the red priest. He wrote 20 concertos for oboe and strings, three for two oboes and many more for oboe and other solo instruments.

The soloist for this work was the talented Maggie Deppe. Maggie was a long serving member of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and is now a music teacher and a freelance oboist with various ensembles. She performed this work with expertise and poise. Along with the Baroque 2000 ensemble, she was on the top of her game, and they put in a fabulous performance with this work.

Over the past few Baroque 2000 concerts, concertmaster Ralitza Macheva has been providing a bit of information about the music between items. I think this is excellent because many of us in the audience may be music lovers, but we are by no means experts, and the insights she provides enhance our experience of the piece.

Ralitza explained that during the Baroque era, performances by duos or trios were possible more common than those by larger orchestras. There are obvious logistical and financial reasons for this. She added that French composer Jean-Marie LeClair was particularly adept at these compositions.

Along with Emi Fukuda she performed LeClair’s Sonata IV in F Major for Two Violins.

An interesting fact about LeClair is that in 1764 he was found stabbed to death in Paris. Although the case has never been solved, it was suggested that his ex-wife had hired assassins to do the deed for financial gain. Shades of what happens in this country these days.

The final two items on the programme were the second Vivaldi and a composition by Johan Sebastian Bach. The works were Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor RV 565 and Bach’s Double concerto in D Minor for Oboe and Violin BMW 1060R.

The soloists for the Bach were Maggie Deppe on Oboe and Ralitza Macheva on Violin.

These final works were rather dark. They are not necessarily sombre or melancholy, and remain rhythmic and melodic - but perhaps do not offer the effervescent qualities which are usually the norm in baroque music.

The final Baroque 2000 concert for the year is scheduled to take place on December 19. It will be a Christmas Celebration Programme featuring the Soprano from Cape Town, Hlengiwe Mkhwanasi.

For more information contact Michel Schneuwly on 082 303 5241 or at

Baroque 2000 is sponsored by Die Rupert Musiekstigting. – Keith Millar