national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


(Above: From left: Margrit Deppe, Ralitza Cherneva, Refiloe Olifant, Jonalene Taylor, Michel Schneuwly, Elena Kerimova, Keamogetswe Magau, Annamaria D'Andrea, Ralitsa Pechoux, Stephane Pechoux)

A fabulous selection of music played with elation and dynamism. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s marvellous Baroque 2000 orchestra once again delivered a first-rate concert at the Mariannhill Monastery Church on Sunday. A fabulous selection of music played with elation and dynamism.

This despite the occasional intervention of one of the biggest troops of monkeys I have seen hurtling over the roof of the church like a runaway freight train.

The title of the concert, Night in Spain, seemed to be a bit strange as none of the composers represented on the programme was from Spain and only one of the pieces performed was overtly Spanish.

However, since this piece was Luigi Boccherini’s inspired Procession of the Military Night Watch in Madrid this mattered not at all.

Luigi Boccherini was an Italian born composer and cellist. He moved to the Spanish capital of Madrid in the mid-1770s to work in the court of a royal prince. When the prince got exiled to the countryside after falling out of favour with the king, the composer followed and wrote this quintet as a reminder of life back in Madrid.

It is a wonderfully descriptive and warm-hearted piece, adaptations of which have often been used in movies and TV series. Imagine strolling through Madrid at night and hearing the tolling of church bells, drum rolls from the military barracks, a minuet played by blind beggars, the rosary prayer, street singers and the retreat of the Night Watch as they bring in the curfew and close down the streets for the night.

Opening the programme at this concert was Balletti Lamentabili a4 by Henrich Biber. The title of this music could be translated to mean Complaining Ballet. All six movements are rather melancholy in nature and it they may be a lament marking the end of the carnival season.

It seems as if no Baroque programme is complete without a bit of Handel, or Vivaldi, or Bach. But who’s complaining? In this case it was Handel with his Overture to Opera Rodelinda. This opera has long been regarded as one of Handel’s greatest works.

Baroque 2000 Director Michel Schneuwly was the trumpeter for Giuseppe Torelli’s Sinfonia in D Major (G8) for Trumpet. Torelli was the most prolific baroque composer for the trumpet having produced more than 30 concertos for one to four trumpets.

Also in the programme was Johan Joseph Fux’s Overture K365. Fux was an Austrian composer, music theorist and pedagogue of the late Baroque era. He is regarded as having been one of the greatest masters of Austrian Baroque music.

His Overture 365 is bright, cheerful music, very well played by the Baroque 2000 ensemble with excellent percussion added by Stephane Pechoux.

Baroque 2000 will now take a break with the next concert taking place on September 25.

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

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